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Dish Network Will Follow Sling And Drop NBC Sports RSNs on April 1st

Jason Gurwin

Last night, Sling TV customers were alerted that they would be losing the remaining NBC Sports RSNs available on the service: NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports California, and NBC Sports Bay Area. The Streamable has confirmed that those channels will also be disappearing from Dish Network.

In a statement to The Streamable, a NBCUniversal spokesperson says: “The NBC Regional Sports Networks offered to continue distribution on fair market terms. DISH and Sling declined those terms and will be dropping the networks. The many other distributors that continue to carry the RSNs are listed on each RSN’s website.”

With the removal of those channels, neither Dish Network nor Sling TV will carry Regional Sports Networks. This is a very different approach from DirecTV and AT&T TV – who have focused on expanding the reach of RSNs – albeit at a higher price point.

Sources familiar with the deal indicate that this will have no material impact on other NBCU channels that are carried by either of the services.

In November, 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 and their streaming service Sling TV, have 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.

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