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Dish Chairman Says There’s No Need to Spend Big on RSNs Since Those Viewers Left for Alternatives

Stephanie Sengwe

The carriage dispute between Dish and Sinclair over Fox Regional Sports Networks has been going on for months now and it seems as though Dish has no regrets. During their Q4 2019 earnings call, Charlie Ergen, Dish Network co-founder and chairman of the board, doubled down on his previous statements and alluded to the fact that the company has been able to save money due to the fact that they no longer need to pay to carry those channels.

“Everything we do here is mathematical and we have real data of what our customers watch … One of the biggest outliers was regional sports in terms of the amount of money they charge and collect, versus the amount of people that actually view them. We would love to do a deal with regional sports, we like Sinclair as a company,” Ergen said during the earnings call.

“Today on our network, we may have people who want to watch regional sports, but it’s a fraction of what it was last August. The programmers have a hard time understanding that, once somebody leaves the network, there’s no reason to put something back and tax the rest of the people because the people who really watch the channel leave us because they have alternatives.”

In November, Sinclair president and CEO Chris Ripley expressed his frustrations over the fact that the two companies couldn’t come to an agreement. His belief was that without RSNs, Dish is “forgoing a key piece of the bundle” equivalent to “forgoing the top ten entertainment programs combined.”

Fox Regional Sports Networks broadcasts local telecasts of 14 MLB teams, 17 NBA teams and 13 NHL teams. The channels previously were a part of Sling Blue package. Since, fuboTV also dropped the channels at the beginning of the year. Currently, Hulu Live TV ($55) and YouTube TV ($50) are the only Live TV Streaming Services that carry the channels.

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