Dish Customers Get Good News for Local Cable Channels

Good news for satellite TV users: Dish has reached a new multi-year deal with Sinclair Broadcasting to keep some of the biggest networks on the service. According to a report by The Streamable, Dish has been relying on a string of short-term temporary extensions of its previous agreement with Sinclair to keep local affiliate channels of CBS, Fox, NBC and ABC available to subscribers. Now, the two sides have reportedly settled on a contract that will last them a while.

Sinclair owns many local news channels across the country, most affiliated with one of the four major broadcasting networks. It also owns the Tennis Channel, which is included in this new deal. Dish has now secured access to 144 local stations across 86 markets, and the agreement also applies to the Sling TV streaming service.

"We are pleased to have reached a multi-year agreement with Sinclair after months of negotiations," said Dish TV group president Brian Neylon. "Sinclair has been a good long-term partner to work with. Both sides have been committed to keeping our customers top of mind and not putting them in the middle of our negotiations. After several contract extensions, we have arrived at a fair agreement that benefits all parties, especially our customers."

"Our agreement with DISH reflects the continued importance that distributors place on local and national broadcast content," added Sinclair's head of distribution and Network Relations William Bell. "We look forward to continuing to provide DISH viewers with the high-quality and highly-desired entertainment, and timely local news that they depend on every day."

Sadly, the deal does not include Ball Sports RSNs as some fans had hoped. Dish dropped the channel in mid-2019 when it was acquired by Sinclair, as did Sling TV. There is no sign of them carrying the channel again. Bally Sports was previously owned by Fox Sports. Fans can still get it with a subscription to the DirecTV Stream Choice Plan, which costs $84.99 per month.

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Dish customers are still dealing with a blackout on 64 TV stations owned by Tegna, which has prompted a formal complaint to the FCC. Meanwhile, Sinclair is now turning its attention to negotiations with cable company Charter's Spectrum, since its agreement with that company expires in March of 2022. Hopefully, the transition there can be at least as seamless.

As always, a digital TV antenna can grant access to many local TV stations within range with no serious set-up requirements, and for relatively cheap. As the negotiations between giant media corporations grow more fierce, options like these may become more and more important.