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Bally Sport RSNs to Stay on Charter Cable For Now, After One-Month Extension

Jeff Kotuby

Charter subscribers will keep their Bally Sports RSNs — at least for one more month.

According to a report by Sports Business Journal, Charter (the owners of cable giant Spectrum) and Sinclair (who owns the Bally Sports regional sports networks through Diamond Sports Group), agreed to a one-month extension on their current carriage deal as they continue to negotiate a new agreement. The original deal, which also included Sinclair’s local TV channels, was due to expire yesterday, but the two sides agreed on an extension at the buzzer.

While many providers are dropping Sinclair’s pricey Bally Sports RSNs, others are working with Sinclair to at least carry their non-sports channels. Last November, Dish and Sinclair reached a multi-year deal that will keep Sinclair-owned CBS, FOX, NBC, and ABC affiliates and the Tennis Channel on the satellite service, but this would not include the RSNs. The lack of carriage may be why Sinclair is so gung-ho to launch its direct-to-consumer Bally Sports streaming app.

On his company’s Q4 2021 earnings call, Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley announced that the company is planning to soft launch their DTC service with five Major League Baseball teams in Q2 of 2022 before launching wide with all of the NBA and NHL teams for which they own the broadcast rights later in the year; presumably with the launch of the basketball and hockey seasons in the fall. Sinclair said that there are 80 million homes in the footprints of the professional teams for which they have the DTC rights.

All of this, of course, is contingent on any MLB games being played at all. The league has locked its players out and despite more than 12 hours of negotiations on Monday, no deal has yet been reached, putting the March 31 start of the season in jeopardy.

Bally may just have to wait for NBA and NHL seasons if the MLB and the MLBPA can’t come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement.

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