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Sinclair, Charter Reportedly Carve Out Another Short-Term Extension

Sinclair Broadcast Group

Sinclair Broadcast Group and Charter Communications have reportedly reached another short-term program-licensing extension, with the two sides determined to keep working under temporary agreements until a new master deal is done. 

According to Sports Business Daily, the extension was carved out on April 1, the day a one-month extension signed in early March expired. A day earlier, reps for both sides told Next TV there were no updates to provide in terms of the talks. 

Sinclair is negotiating retransmission fees for its broadcast stations residing in Charter's Spectrum TV footprint. Sinclair is also trying to establish fees for its collection of Bally Sports-branded regional sports networks, which will soon also be streamed directly to consumers. 

With Sinclair acquiring around $10 billion of debt to build its Bally Sports empire, it can't afford not to try to expand distribution through over-the-top means, but it also can't afford to undermine the golden goose of its pay TV distribution. 

This is why Sports Business Journal, which expects a new agreement to be announced in the next few weeks, is calling this negotiation “the biggest sports deal of 2022.”

Last year, Sinclair was able to negotiate a new distribution contract for its Bally Sports networks with Comcast, but satellite TV provider Dish Network demurred on the sports channels, taking only retrans on the Sinclair broadcast stations. 

If Sinclair makes it through this gauntlet with Charter, it doesn't have another major pay TV contract to renegotiate until the end of 2023, when its DirecTV deal ends. ■

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!