Four days before the start of the Blazers’ preseason, DISH TV removed all AT&T Sports Networks from their lineups Thursday, including ROOT Sports. In a statement, DISH felt that the benefit to their subscribers was outweighed by the high price being demanded by AT&T. This is the latest in a series of battles between broadcast providers and Regional Sports Networks (RSN’s), a situation familiar to Blazers fans due to Comcast/NBC Sports Northwest being unavailable on satellite networks.
The crux of the negotiations breakdown seems to be the requirement for the sports networks to be available to, and paid for by, all subscribers. DISH TV’s President didn’t mince words with his dissatisfaction during negotiations.
“The current RSN model is fundamentally broken,” said Brian Neylon, group president, DISH TV. “This model requires nearly all customers to pay for RSNs when only a small percentage of customers actually watch them.”
Neylon added that DISH wished to offer a la carte access to AT&T/Root, but the RSN’s were not receptive. Like many cable networks, historically, RSN’s derive income from being available as part of an overall cable package; an a la carte option for AT&T/Root would likely lead to a precipitous drop in revenue, and a lack of ability to easily draw in new channel-surfing viewers.
This is part of a rocky ramp-up for the Blazers on Root Sports Northwest. The network is still unavailable on Hulu Live TV and YouTube Live TV, both of whom have shown signs of also exiting the RSN-broadcasting business. The sports-friendly streaming service Fubo has picked up Root Sports Northwest, but is missing many other common channels viewed by a majority of households. And some unusual wording in the Root Sports Blazers FAQ has given fans pause about whether Portland’s games will be viewable, even if they have the channel available on their system.
If my video provider already carries ROOT SPORTS and I am located in the Portland Trail Blazers territory, will I get Portland Trail Blazers games?
If you are in the Portland Trail Blazers territory and already receive ROOT SPORTS as part of your package your video provider will be offered the opportunity to deliver Portland Trail Blazers games to their customers. We hope the tv providers elect to make that product available to their customers.
Blazer’s Edge will provide a full viewing guide to the Blazers on Root Sports as the situation stabilizes and the broadcast options are clearer.