The Fox Sports regional sports networks could go dark on Dish and Sling TV tomorrow, leaving about half of the teams in the MLB without carriage on those platforms if a new deal is not struck by then.
Variety has a story summarizing the aggregate situation, which is essentially that Dish (and therefore also Sling TV, the streaming service that is its subsidiary) has had widespread carriage disputes. They haven’t had HBO since November, more than a dozen local broadcast affiliates owned by Meredith have been out for a few days, and distribution deals originally signed by Fox are expiring soon.
This is complicated because these channels are now owned and/or will soon be owned by three different companies. Fox is retaining Fox News Channel and FS1, while Disney is the new owner of FX and National Geographic. The regional sports networks were sold to Disney but then sold again to Sinclair (with YES Network sold separately to a group involving a combo of the Yankees, Amazon, and Sinclair) — regulatory red tape triggered the second sale, which is still pending other regulatory approval. What this means, per Variety, is that an “interim group” is handling the RSN negotiations.
The following teams are affected by this if it doesn’t get resolved today: Diamondbacks, Braves, Reds, Indians, Tigers, Royals, Angels, Marlins, Brewers, Twins, Yankees, Cardinals, Padres, Rays, and Rangers. If it extends into October, about half the NBA and NHL teams will be affected as well.
This has the potential to get very aggravating for fans of those teams who are subscribers to Dish or Sling TV.
UPDATE: A temporary agreement has been reached, so no blackouts at least for the time being.