Sinclair and AT&T Officially Reach Deal For Locals, Fox RSNs, YES Network, & Marquee Across DirecTV, AT&T TV NOW, & AT&T U-Verse
Sinclair Broadcast Group and AT&T have agreed on a multi-year agreement across DIRECTV, AT&T TV and U-verse for continued carriage of Sinclair’s owned local broadcast stations and Tennis Channel, for future carriage of Marquee Sports Network, a regional sports network featuring games of the Chicago Cubs launching in 2020, as well as for the 21 RSN brands Sinclair recently acquired and the YES Network, in which Sinclair is a joint-venture partner.
By coming to terms, DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse, AT&T TV, and AT&T TV NOW customers across the country avoided losing 136 local affiliates. While not all of Sinclair locals that are available on DIRECTV are available on AT&T TV NOW, it would have had a major impact on customers watching FOX for NFL, College Football, and the upcoming launch of WWE on the network.
Sinclair had already been affected by the blackouts, as 19 of their local affiliates in which they had JSA agreements were dropped by AT&T in June, some have recently been resolved. The company also had all of their CBS affiliates, which are negotiated by CBS directly, dropped by DIRECTV NOW in late-July.
The latest carriage negotiation comes after CBS nationally was dropped in major markets on DirecTV and nationally on DIRECTV NOW (now known as AT&T TV NOW). Prior to that, Nexstar, the largest local affiliate owner, had their channels dropped DirecTV, DIRECTV NOW, and AT&T U-Verse. While both sides ultimately came to a deal, the disputes lasted multiple weeks leaving customers without locals.
This isn’t the first dispute Sinclair has had with a Live TV Streaming Service. Last year, PlayStation Vue and Sinclair Media Group were in an extended battle that saw many locals dropped from the service, only to return a few months later.