Dish/Sling subscribers lose Atlanta Braves access as Fox Sports South and Southeast get blacked out

Credit: Photo: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Credit: Photo: Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Originally posted Friday, July 26, 2019 by RODNEY HO/ on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Fox Sports regional networks at noon today pulled itself off Dish/Sling so subscribers in Atlanta will not be able to watch Atlanta Braves if the blackout lasts any length of time.

The Braves are on the road the next few days and play division rivals the Philadelphia Phillies this weekend. Tonight’s game starts at 7:05 p.m. Next week, the team plays a key series against the Washington Nationals. The Braves hold a 4.5 game lead over the Nats and a 5.5 game lead over the Phillies despite losing four of their past five games.

The Fox Sports South and Southeast channels - recently taken over by Disney - air most Braves games.

"The regional sports TV business model is broken," said Andy LeCuyer, Dish  senior vice president of programming in a press release today. "It relies on the majority of customers subsidizing the slim minority who actually watch these channels. RSNs should be like a ticket to the ballpark – fans who want to watch the game should be the ones who pay for it."

Like many regional sports networks, Fox’s regional sports networks are seeking payment from almost all Dish customers in their regions, even those who choose a programming package that does not include these channels, according to Dish.

Dish said it offered a short-term contract extension with a retroactive rate adjustment while negotiating continued but Fox Sports decided to pull the plug, an increasingly common tactic among cable and broadcast networks seeking to maximize their income while the pool of potential customers shrinks.

In response, Fox Sports Network said it offered to extend the current agreement but was rejected.

“We know fans are looking forward to the broadcasts of their hometown teams during the stretch run of the baseball season, and we hope DISH and Sling act to return this programming to their customers,” the network said in a statement.

Currently, CBS46’s owner Meredith Corp. has blacked out the CBS affiliate from Dish. And AT&T-owned DirecTV has stopped airing CW46 (WUPA-TV) over a re-transmission fee dispute.

Nationally, these are the networks that have been pulled for Dish/Sling customers: