Dish Network Drops NESN, Leaving Them Without Any Regional Sports Networks
Last night, NESN, the local carrier of Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox games, was dropped from Dish Network, continuing the company’s recent decision to no longer carry Regional Sports Networks on their satellite service.
In a statement Brian Neylon, group president, DISH TV said, “The current Regional Sports Network (SN) model is fundamentally broken. This model requires nearly all customers to pay for RSNs when only a small percentage of customers actually watch them. As the cost of these channels continues to escalate and a la carte viewing options become ever more accessible, we no longer think it makes sense to include them in our TV lineup.”
Earlier this year, Dish Network dropped NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Philadelphia, MASN, AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, following removing Fox Sports RSNs (now called Bally Sports) and Altitude in 2019.
“We have offered multiple solutions to keep NESN on DISH TV while providing the best value to all our customers,” added Neylon. “We made an offer for NESN to be a separate standalone package, similar to premium channels like HBO or Showtime - they refused. We also offered NESN to be part of select DISH programming packages, but they refused this as well.”
With the removal of NESN, neither Dish Network will no longer carry Regional Sports Networks. This is a very different approach from DirecTV and DIRECTV STREAM – who have focused on expanding the reach of RSNs – but placing them on a higher tier.
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Last year, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen said: “You’re not going to be able, probably, to get people who never watch sports to pay. I think you’ve got to change that model. For us, we had real math when it comes to programming content. We know what the value is when it comes to our customers..[and] the value of regional sports to our customers was the most overrated. It wasn’t a big risk on our part.”
Dish has taken a hard stance on the high cost of locals and Regional Sports Networks. From a local perspective, they believe that customers shouldn’t pay for channels that are free over-the-air. From a RSN perspective, they don’t believe in increasing costs on all customers, for channels that are watched by a small set of customers.
The dropped channels are the regional homes of NBA’s Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings; the NHL’s Washington Capitals and San Jose Sharks; and MLB’s San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics. NBCU’s portfolio of RSNs, which include NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Chicago, NBC Sports Northwest, and NBC Sports Boston, which weren’t available on either service – reach more than 35 million U.S. homes.