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Dish Chairman Ergen: Fox RSNs Could Be Gone From Dish & Sling Forever

Final Decision to Be Made at Board Meeting Later This Week

Jason Gurwin

“It doesn’t look good that the Regional Sports will be on Dish again”, according to Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen. On Friday, Fox Sports announced that Sling TV and Dish Network dropped 21 Fox Regional Sports Networks and YES Network. This comes after the two sides agreed to a temporary extension last Monday when the deal was supposed to expire.

Today, on their Second Quarter Earnings Call, Sling President Warren Schlichting said, “We offered a 30-Day Extension. We have tried incredibly hard and frankly we’ve said it in the past the model is broken…my team has made a recommendation to the Chairman…to remove those RSNs long term.”

Then, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said “They are not very good economic deals. On Sling side, they’re younger they don’t watch as much of the sports. We’re going to take them to the board, emotionally I want to keep them, but I don’t think that the right thing to do.”

The channels which were acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group by Disney, after netting them as part of their deal for 21st Century Fox, will not officially be completed for a few weeks. Currently, the channels are managed by a separate group that is handling the carriage negotiations.

Ergen made it seem that this could be a different story had Sinclair already taken over the channels. “Sinclair the new owner, is someone we want to do business with. We like what they’re doing with ATSC 3.0 — we think we’re aligned in. We hate not to carry.”

The challenge Ergen says that now that the channels are gone from Dish and Sling, “a month from now, no one is going to want it.” He assumes most of the customers who would leave as a result of this, will have already left, so “all you’re doing is taxing the customers who don’t want it. Only a small fraction of our customers are viewers of regional sports.”

Ergen confirmed that the company has a board meeting later this week, which seems to determine the fate of whether Dish and Sling TV will try to make a deal.

FOX Regional Sports Networks broadcasts local telecasts of 14 MLB teams, 17 NBA teams and 13 NHL teams. The channels were available as part of Sling Blue package for $25 a month. While there are other services like Hulu Live TV ($45), PlayStation Vue ($55), fuboTV ($55), YouTube TV ($50) — most are double the price of Sling.

Fox Sports Arizona
Fox Sports Carolinas
Fox Sports Detroit
Fox Sports Florida
Fox Sports Indiana
Fox Sports Kansas City
Fox Sports Midwest
Fox Sports New Orleans
Fox Sports North
Fox Sports Ohio
Fox Sports Oklahoma

Fox Sports Prime Ticket
Fox Sports San Diego
Fox Sports South
Fox Sports Southeast
Fox Sports Southwest
Fox Sports Sun
Fox Sports Tennessee
Fox Sports West
Fox Sports Wisconsin
SportsTime Ohio
YES Network