Earlier today Sling TV & Dish lost access to Fox Regional Sports Networks. This comes as talks with Dish/Sling TV and Disney broke down. Making this even more complicated is that the Fox RSN group has its own team negotiating.
Dish sent Cord Cutters News the following statement about the blackouts: “DISH and Sling has offered the Fox Regional Sports Networks a short-term extension, in an effort to quickly negotiate a fair, long-term deal for our customers. The RSNs offered an extension that would put the new expiration date up against the 2020 Major League Baseball Opening Day. They want to use baseball fans as negotiation leverage, while continuing to get paid in the meantime for sports with lower viewership. Coming to a fair deal is in the interest of customers, not a nine-month extension that simply puts them in the middle again.”
The Fox Regional Sports Network talks are likely the most difficult. Back in May Sinclair purchased most of the Fox Regional Sports Networks from Disney for $10.6 billion. It had been reported that Disney wanted $20 billion for the networks but Sinclair won with a bid of $10.6 billion showing how cord cutting has reduced the value of networks like the Fox RSNs.
As part of the deal to get Department of Justice approval for the Disney-Fox merger, there was a requirement that the Fox regional sports networks would be sold off. When Disney closes on the sale of most of 21st Century Fox, they need to sell off the regional sports networks currently running under the Fox Sports name. There was a fear that Disney owning ESPN, ABC, and the Fox regional sports networks would give them too much power in the world of sports.
Talks like this are nothing new and typically get quickly worked out. We expect to see these networks return to Sling TV in the future.
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