Dish Network subscribers hoping to catch the final weekend of the Mariners’ unlikely playoff push are now out of luck.
Same with hockey fans hoping to watch the Kraken’s debut NHL season on Dish, or NBA lovers preparing to catch Portland Trail Blazers games. A carriage deal between the satellite provider and Mariners-owned ROOT Sports Northwest expired Thursday with no plans at all for any new contract.
AT&T Sports Networks has a minority stake in ROOT Sports and manages the regional sports network (RSN) on behalf of the majority stakeholder Mariners, including the negotiation of all carriage deals.
“The current RSN model is fundamentally broken,” Brian Neylon, Dish’s group president, said in a release. “This model requires nearly all customers to pay for RSNs when only a small percentage of customers actually watch them.”
Dish alleged that ROOT Sports and two other AT&T Sports-managed RSN entities in Denver and Pittsburgh impacted by Thursday’s move “are demanding rates that would be passed on to nearly every customer, whether they watch RSNs or not. This inequitable model has become antiquated due to the rise of a la carte viewing options and specialized streaming services.”
NESN in Massachesetts is now the only remaining RSN carried by Dish.