Two more services are losing support for regional sports as the RSN streaming drama continues.
In joint statements today, Sling TV and its parent Dish TV announced that their customers were losing support for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network and NBC regional sports networks. Sling TV is losing NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Bay Area, and NBC Sports California, while Dish TV is losing MASN. The companies said the change will impact customers in 10 states and Washington D.C.
As has been the case in similar situations, the companies are pointing the finger at rising RSN rates. DISH TV’s group president Brian Neylon said in a statement that the services extended an offer that would allow customers to pay for RSNs on an a la carte basis rather than pass the expense on to all users. Neylon said the system would ensure “no customer would be forced to pay for content they don’t watch, and the RSNs would determine the price customers would pay for their channels.”
That offer, however, was not accepted.
“The current RSN model is fundamentally broken,” Neylon said in a statement. “This model requires nearly all customers to pay for RSNs when only a small percentage of customers actually watch them. As the cost of these channels continues to escalate, we no longer think it makes sense to include them in our TV lineup.”
A spokesperson for the NBC Regional Sports Networks had the following statement when reached by email: “The NBC Regional Sports Networks offered to continue distribution on fair market terms. DISH and Sling declined those terms and have dropped the networks. The many other distributors that continue to carry the RSNs are listed on each RSN’s website.”
It’s a story we have absolutely heard before with RSNs previously hosted by services like YouTube TV, Fubo TV, and Hulu. It’s unlikely that every customer who subscribes to these services is there for the regional sports coverage. But considering how frequently they’re dropped, it sure as hell makes cutting the cord a whole lot more of a headache for users who actually do subscribe for their sports.
Updated with statement from NBC Regional Sports Networks.