Sling TV today announced that it can no longer provide two regional sports networks — MASN (the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network), and NBC Regional Sports Networks. The change affects customers in 10 states and Washington, D.C.
Sling TV and its parent company, Dish, said that (as always) it comes down to an inability to reach an agreement on what it was willing to pay for those networks, saying in a blog post that "MASN and NBC RSNs are demanding rates that would be passed on to nearly every customer, whether they watch RSNs or not."
That's nothing new, and it's something we've seen every streaming service have to deal with from time to time, and it's not just limited to regional sports networks. YouTube TV and Hulu With Live TV have both been here before, and we saw Hulu lose CBS affiliates just before the Super Bowl.
"The current RSN model is fundamentally broken," Brian Neylon, Group President, DISH TV, said in Sling's announcement post. "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."
The post says that Dish countered with a proposal to make the MASN and NBC sports networks a premium add-on option. If you wanted them, you could pay for them. But that undoubtedly would have meant less money for the RSNs.
"Our proposal to offer sports fans access to RSNs is simple, and provides choice and value to all of our customers," Neylon said. "It would allow DISH TV and SLING TV customers to choose to subscribe to the RSN channels they want — such as the regional MASN and NBC sports networks — on an a la carte basis, similar to premium subscription channels. With this updated RSN model, 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."
So chalk up two more RSNs that you can no longer stream. It certainly won't be the last time this happens.
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