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Sling TV subscribers have lost access to NBC regional sports networks. This is the latest example of channels being dropped following a live TV streaming service unable to agree terms with channel owners. The lost channels not only apply to Sling TV, but also Dish TV customers as well. In addition to the NBC RSNs, Dish customers also lost access to Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN).
As live TV streaming costs have increased, the channels on offer have consistently been adjusted. In some cases this has resulted in channel gains for subscribers, while in others instances channels have been removed, with locals and RSNs routinely affected. This is an issue that has affected almost every live TV service, with fuboTV, Hulu Live TV, and YouTube TV also having dropped local channels and RSNs over the past year.
Sling has now confirmed that NBC RSNs have now been removed from Sling TV, resulting in the loss of NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California. The announcement explains that the channels were removed last night and primarily affect subscribers in 10 states and Washington D.C. The same RSNs were also removed from Dish TV, along with MASN.
Although this latest change to Sling TV’s channel lineup has only now taken effect, Sling TV had been warning subscribers this would happen since the beginning of March. With those initial warnings coming through almost a month ago, it appears no final deal was made in time to avoid the channels being dropped.
No new NBC RSN deal agreed
As is usually the case with dropped channels, this is the result of Dish Network and NBC failing to agree to a new deal. According to the Sling and Dish announcement, Dish TV’s Group President, Brian Neylon referred to the current RSN model as “fundamentally broken.” In explaining this point, Neylon stated that not only is the cost to carry RSNs constantly increasing, but all subscribers are expected to pay for them. This is in spite of “only a small percentage of customers” actually watching RSNs to begin with.
Continuing, Neylon explained that one of the ways it has looked to avoid losing the channels altogether was to offer the RSNs as an add-on, similar to how premium networks are offered. This would allow those who want access to the RSNs to subscribe to them without subscribers who don’t want regional sports networks having to pay for them. In this instance, however, MASN and NBC were “unwilling to accept” the proposal, according to the announcement.
Regardless of the reason, the fact is now that Sling TV subscribers have lost access to even more regional sports networks with no indications these, or the ones that had been dropped in the past, are due to return to the live TV streaming services in the future.