By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, do you know what’s up with the AT&T regional sports networks (RSN)? Will they keep doing the games or will they drop them like Diamond Sports dropped some teams this year? Please update. — Gary, Pittsburgh.
Gary, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), which owns the three AT&T-named RSNs, told the leagues last February that it no longer wants to broadcast their games. (The three channels broadcast the NBA’s Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, and Colorado Rockies.) Unlike Diamond Sports, which declared bankruptcy in March and is trying to reorganize its business with the Bally Sports RSNs, WBD does not believe the RSN business is worth continuing.

During a second quarter earnings call with financial analysts, WBD CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels yesterday provided an update on the company’s plan to exit the RSN business. He said that by year’s end, the AT&T regional sports channels will likely be sold or that their broadcast rights will be returned to the teams. “I am very pleased to say that we have been working diligently with the respective leagues and teams to formulate a plan to exit the RSN business in a manner that minimizes the disruption to teams and their fans,” Wiedenfels said. “We expect each of the networks will be sold or operation seized by the end of the year.”

Wiedenfels did not provide additional details such as which companies might be interested in buying the RSNs or what the teams might do if the broadcast rights are returned. But the transition could lead to some teams seeking new TV partners, perhaps with local broadcasters, as the Phoenix Suns and Vegas Golden Knights have done after losing RSN deals. The TV Answer Man will monitor this situation and report back here if anything significant changes.

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— Phillip Swann