Oct 1, 2019 - Economy

Sports are a flashpoint as satellite TV struggles with blackouts

Data: MoffettNathanson; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: MoffettNathanson; Chart: Axios Visuals

Of all the major TV blackouts happening this year, many of the biggest conflicts are occurring between the two big satellite companies and TV networks.

Why it matters: The Pay-TV business is in terminal decline, and in some ways, satellite operators are feeing the losses more than their cable counterparts, who are able to lean more heavily on broadband sales to recoup the losses.

Be smart: Sports has become a flashpoint point for blackout disputes, as Pay-TV operators argue that the value of live sports is decreasing with viewership declines. TV networks are increasingly trying to bundle their sports channels into their Pay-TV package offerings.

Diving the news: NBC Sports Chicago went dark for Dish TV and Sling TV subscribers last night. The network warned it could go dark for AT&T customers, but it seems as though the two entities are in negotiation.

  • CBS stations went dark on DirecTV and AT&T Now this summer for three weeks during the start of the NFL pre-season.
  • Fox stations went dark on DISH and Sling TV customers in 17 markets across 23 states and DC, impacting millions of sports fans who will no longer be able to access networks like FS1, FS2, Big 10 Network, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Deportes.

Go deeper: 2019 sees record number of TV blackouts

Go deeper