This week, The Streamable, sat down with Michael Schwimmer, EVP and Group President of Sling TV to discuss Sling TV and the changing streaming environment. The full interview will be available on our YouTube channel on Friday, but we wanted to give you a sneak peek.
In July 2019, Sling TV and their parent Dish Network, became the first to drop Sinclair-owned Fox Sports RSNs. In the interview, we asked Schwimmer what it would take for Regional Sports Networks to exist in a streaming bundle like Sling.
“I think it’s difficult,” said Schwimmer. “The thing for most customers to realize is, Regional Sports Networks are a terrible deal for customers.”
He continued, “Because there’s very limited viewership. And yet everybody has to pay for them…it really inflates the bill. We’d rather give the vast majority of our customers a good deal.”
In order to keep Sling’s prices low, regional sports, like locals – has been one of the areas that they’ve dropped from the service.
“We have to make choices, and our choice (with) regional sports…is keeping everybody’s bill low, as opposed to carrying something that in the end gets very limited viewership. There are some passionate fans, and we wish we could serve them by offering this content on à la carte basis.”
In fact, Schwimmer said that if RSNs could be offered on an à la carte basis, Sling “would offer every regional sports channel in America in a heartbeat.” But, that’s not an option right now because “what the regional sports providers want is, is for us to to make them available to everybody, even the people that don’t want them. And that’s where it breaks down.”
And with local sports rights costing as much as they do, there just doesn’t seem to be a world where à la carte can work without a dramatic overhaul on the model.