Dish Adds MASN to Potential RSN Chopping Block

Giancarlo Stanton #27 of the New York Yankees hits an RBI single to right field against Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals in the game at Nationals Park on July 23, 2020 in Washington, DC.
(Image credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Dish Network added Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, home of the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles major league baseball teams, to the list of regional sports networks that potentially could go dark to its customers on April 1.

Dish already has warned customers that three NBC Sports RSNs -- NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California -- could go dark on April 1. Dish had already dropped the remaining NBC Sports RSNs -- NBC Sports Chicago and networks in Philadelphia, Boston, and the Pacific Northwest -- in 2019.

News that MASN had been added to the list of potential drops was first reported by TV

On its Dish Promise website, the satellite TV provider said that it has proposed to all RSNs that they be sold a la carte to Dish customers, a proposal that every pay TV operator would like, but none have.

Also Read: RSNs Scramble for Streaming Deals as Opening Day Approaches 

“Dish has made this consumer-friendly proposal to NBC and MASN, but they have been unwilling to accept, choosing instead to continue with the old, broken model,” Dish said on the Dish Promise site. “We continue to remain open that the Regional Sports Networks will work with us to offer their content in a way that provides choice and value to all customers.”

RSNs usually require carriage on the most popular video tier of distributors, enabling them to capture the most advertising dollars. But high fees of RSNs and claims by distributors that the majority of their customers don’t watch them, have put the two at loggerheads for years. 

The news of the potential Dish blackout comes weeks after MASN said it had reached a multi-year carriage deal with Comcast. In announcing that deal, MASN said it had agreements with 24 cable, satellite, telco and digital distributors in 17 Nielsen markets in its seven-state exclusive home television territory, spanning Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Mike Farrell

Mike Farrell is senior content producer, finance for Multichannel News/B+C, covering finance, operations and M&A at cable operators and networks across the industry. He joined Multichannel News in September 1998 and has written about major deals and top players in the business ever since. He also writes the On The Money blog, offering deeper dives into a wide variety of topics including, retransmission consent, regional sports networks,and streaming video. In 2015 he won the Jesse H. Neal Award for Best Profile, an in-depth look at the Syfy Network’s Sharknado franchise and its impact on the industry.