By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman

Diamond Sports’ bankruptcy and Warner Bros. Discovery’s decision to exit the regional sports network (RSN) business has certainly caused a significant upheaval in the industry. But a recent CNBC report suggests that pay TV operators are concerned that the RSN crisis could ultimately lead to more carriage blackouts between them and local broadcasters.

The NBA’s Phoenix Suns, and Utah Jazz and the NHL’s Vegas Knights recently signed TV deals with local broadcasters to carry their games over free local channels after losing their partnerships with the RSNs. CNBC reports that Scripps, Gray Television, Sinclair and Nexstar are interested in similar deals with other teams if their RSN agreements fall apart.

And that scares the cable and satellite operators, CNBC reports. They are afraid that if broadcasters such as Sinclair and Nexstar, which each own more than 100 network affiliates, capture the rights to local sports teams, it will be even more difficult to negotiate new carriage deals with them. DIRECTV, which is now in a 159-channel blackout with Nexstar, is particularly concerned. Bloomberg recently reported that DIRECTV may even try to secure the local rights to certain teams, which could be a preventive measure.

“Top executives at DIRECTV, including CEO Bill Morrow, are expected to meet with NBA and NHL leaders in coming weeks as part of an ongoing dialogue about local games if RSNs are to drop teams…,” the CNBC report says. “Pay TV providers are looking for other solutions for the diminished regional sports network business and are balking at the prospect of broadcast stations putting more games over the air.”

It’s likely that more teams will seek local TV deals since Warner Bros. Discovery has said it will stop broadcasting games on its three AT&T-named RSNs by year’s end. The three channels have been the broadcasters of the NBA’s Houston Rockets and the Jazz, the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, and Colorado Rockies. Plus, Diamond Sports is trying to reorganize as a profitable company and may need to jettison more team TV deals. (Diamond has ended its pacts with the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks this year.) Complicating that effort is that Diamond this fall needs to renew its carriage deals with Comcast and…DIRECTV.

Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at Please include your first name and hometown in your message.

— Phillip Swann