DISH TV’s breakup with NESN is so acrimonious, the split could be turned into a Taylor Swift song.
After months of negotiations, DISH TV announced late Monday it was dropping NESN from its lineup. The provider no longer carries any regional sports networks, citing a “broken” model.
“We have offered multiple solutions to keep NESN on DISH TV while providing the best value to all our customers,” said DISH TV president Brian Neylon. “We made an offer for NESN to be a separate standalone package, similar to premium channels like HBO or Showtime - they refused. We also offered NESN to be part of select DISH programming packages, but they refused this as well.”
The main issue is the high cost NESN and other RSNs pass along to providers, and in turn customers, even though few people actually watch them. With that in mind, Neylon said DISH “no longer thinks it makes sense” to include NESN in its lineup.
Earlier this year, DISH cut ties with a myriad of other RSNs, including NBC Sports Washington, NBC Sports Philadelphia, MASN and AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh. YouTube TV dropped NESN in October 2020.
With over-the-air TV viewership declining, providers are being more aggressive when it comes to negotiating with costly networks. The old strategy of passing along higher costs to all subscribers, even those who don’t watch the expensive sports channels, is no longer tenable.
Fenway Sports Group owns 80% of NESN. The remaining ownership stake is held by Jeremy Jacobs’ company, Delaware North.