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Sinclair, Charter Reportedly Reach Short-Term Carriage Extension For Locals and Bally Sports

Lauren Forristal

Sinclair Broadcast Group (owners of the Bally Sports regional sports networks) and Charter Communications (owners of Spectrum cable) have reached another short-term program-licensing extension on their carriage deal, according to a report from Sports Business Journal. The two companies are determined to keep working under temporary agreements until a new master deal is complete.

As reported by the Sports Business Daily, the extension was sketched out on April 1, the day when the previous one-month extension expired.

The original deal, which included most of Sinclair’s 294 broadcast stations in 89 markets, will keep the channels on the program guides of Charter’s more than 15.8 million pay TV subscribers. Sinclair is negotiating retransmission fees for its broadcast stations living in Charter’s Spectrum TV footprint.

In addition, Sinclair is trying to establish fees for its pricey collection of Bally Sports-branded regional sports networks, which will soon also be a direct-to-consumer service. The company acquired about $10 billion of debt to build its Bally Sports empire and can’t afford not to try to expand distribution.

Sinclair was able to negotiate a new distribution contract with Comcast last year for its Bally Sports networks. On the other hand, Dish dismissed the regional sports channels, taking only Sinclair-owned CBS, FOX, NBC, and ABC affiliates and the Tennis Channel.

If Sinclair can get Charter to agree to a deal that will include Sinclair’s local broadcast stations, it would give the company some stability in the chaotic RSN marketplace, which faces rising costs and a loss in subscribers. It also wouldn’t have another major pay TV contract to renegotiate until the end of 2023, when its DirecTV deal ends.

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