Marquee Sports Network

NashGuy

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well can Comcast really make do with zero Sinclair local channels?? Sinclair has a lot of power there.
Well, that works both ways. Can Sinclair do with zero distribution of their locals on the nation's largest cable TV provider? That would be a *huge* hit to their bottom line. And keep in mind that the network content carried by those locals -- stuff from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and CW -- would remain available on Comcast's on-demand platform even if there was a blackout of Sinclair's stations. And many of those Comcast customers could pick up the Sinclair local station for free with an OTA antenna. So it seems to me that Comcast has a stronger negotiating position than Sinclair.
 
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NashGuy

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No YES, SNY, MSG Networks going on 10+ years now for Dish subs. Since 2008 when I moved to Dish from DTV it has not carried the YES Network. MSG went away shortly thereafter, never to return. I don’t recall SNY ever being carried either (not a huge Mets fan, sorry). Our consolation prizes were ATT Pittsburgh and Fox Sports Ohio. FSN-Ohio gone now too with the Sinclair dispute. As contracts expire I expect that no RSNs will be carried by Dish. The problem is we’ve not seen a corresponding drop in price or slowing of annual price increases (no RSN fee though).
Between the sports situation and the lack of HBO, it seems like DISH is moving toward an intermediate position among the three satellite TV providers, with DirecTV at the top (most content, highest prices) and Orby at the bottom (least content, lowest prices).
 

evenout

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Well, that works both ways. Can Sinclair do with zero distribution of their locals on the nation's largest cable TV provider? That would be a *huge* hit to their bottom line. And keep in mind that the network content carried by those locals -- stuff from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, and CW -- would remain available on Comcast's on-demand platform even if there was a blackout of Sinclair's stations. And many of those Comcast customers could pick up the Sinclair local station for free with an OTA antenna. So it seems to me that Comcast has a stronger negotiating position than Sinclair.
But wouldn't it really just be Comcast customers within the Chicago Cubs territory?

If you live in say... Pittsburgh, if you want to watch the Cubs games you're going to get those games with Extra Innings or MLB.tv.

I'm just really surprised that Sinclair did not develop an OTT delivery system for Marquee to be sold directly to customers. Take someone within the city of Chicago - regardless of the provider they are using for TV or Internet... just subscribe to the Sinclair OTT platform and you get the Cubs games. Or is there something in place that prevents them from doing that?

That would seem to give Sinclair leverage with Comcast. "Either accept our deal and include Marquee in your TV offering or customers will just use your Internet service to stream Marquee and we'll get all the money."

Although... I suppose the fear might be that there's only a dozen Cubs fans in the Chicago land area and if the OTT service is sold for $12/mo... that's only $144 per month which won't exactly help the Cubs payroll issues.
 

raoul5788

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It is part of the TV Plus service that Samsung has. It just appeared one day, starting at channel 1000. It was just integrated with my OTA channels. There are many channels, a few are the same that are on Directv. Some are subchannels like WeatherNation (1034), Buzzr (1272), and Stadium (1059). One channel is 4K, Insight (1063). There is also a different beIn Sports channel (1062) than the ones we had, but they do not carry the La Liga games. There is a La Liga show though. There are a bunch of Asian channels, too, for some reason. My TV isn't that spectacular or fancy or new either.
Like I said, 1059 isn't on my Samsung smart tv and neither is 1063.
 

MrMars

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Is NESN still there?
NESN is still on Dish, they did drop NBC Sports Boston along time ago though

At this point think it is easier to count the RSNs still on Dish, NESN and some of the NBC Sports RSNs (No Philly, NW, Chicago or Boston) The AT&T Sportsnets + MASN and I believe that is it
 

TheRatPatrol

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When I see Diamond Sports Network, I think of Baseball.
Good point, but most of them show other sports as well. When I think of Marquee I think of a canopy projecting over the entrance to a theater.

Sadly all teams are going to start their own network.
Have teams still not learned from the Dodgers mess? If they go that way they need to offer the games without having a cable or satellite subscription.

Is NESN still there?
NESN is owned by the Red Sox and Bruins and not tied to a big TV company.

I'm just really surprised that Sinclair did not develop an OTT delivery system for Marquee to be sold directly to customers. Take someone within the city of Chicago - regardless of the provider they are using for TV or Internet... just subscribe to the Sinclair OTT platform and you get the Cubs games. Or is there something in place that prevents them from doing that?

That would seem to give Sinclair leverage with Comcast. "Either accept our deal and include Marquee in your TV offering or customers will just use your Internet service to stream Marquee and we'll get all the money."

Although... I suppose the fear might be that there's only a dozen Cubs fans in the Chicago land area and if the OTT service is sold for $12/mo... that's only $144 per month which won't exactly help the Cubs payroll issues.
Guaranteed money. When they have deals with cable and satellite companies they get guaranteed money based on the number of subscribers, regardless of how many of them watch the channel. You answered your own question in your last paragraph. Although HBO and Showtime seem to be doing ok with their stand alone streaming services.

But local sports somehow needs to break away from having to have a cable or satellite subscription in order for fans to be able to watch their local teams. But I don’t know how that would work.
 
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evenout

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Guaranteed money. When they have deals with cable and satellite companies they get guaranteed money based on the number of subscribers, regardless of how many of them watch the channel. You answered your own question in your last paragraph. Although HBO and Showtime seem to be doing ok with their stand alone streaming services.

But local sports somehow needs to break away from having to have a cable or satellite subscription in order for fans to be able to watch their local teams. But I don’t know how that would work.
This is what I've referred to as the ESPN problem before.

ESPN's top execs like to look at their profit sheets "Holy Cow! We're wildly popular! We have over 70 billion subscribers! Let's start a dozen new ESPN networks!" But in actuality they might have 700 people actually watching the channel (I'm exaggerating both ends because I have no clue what the actual numbers are). Sure it looks good to say that you have a lot of subscribers, but it's more beneficial when you know exactly how many people want to use your service.

These teams (like the Cubs... who I figure are actually doing pretty good here) need to take a long look at how many people are actually watching their games on TV before diving into expensive TV contracts.
 

Don in CT

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This is what I've referred to as the ESPN problem before.

ESPN's top execs like to look at their profit sheets "Holy Cow! We're wildly popular! We have over 70 billion subscribers! Let's start a dozen new ESPN networks!" But in actuality they might have 700 people actually watching the channel (I'm exaggerating both ends because I have no clue what the actual numbers are). Sure it looks good to say that you have a lot of subscribers, but it's more beneficial when you know exactly how many people want to use your service.

These teams (like the Cubs... who I figure are actually doing pretty good here) need to take a long look at how many people are actually watching their games on TV before diving into expensive TV contracts.
We can guarantee that the Cubs will draw better than the White Sox, I'm sure they already know viewership based on their last contract.
 

slice1900

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And many of those Comcast customers could pick up the Sinclair local station for free with an OTA antenna. So it seems to me that Comcast has a stronger negotiating position than Sinclair.
Not really. You think that if Comcast permanently dropped all Sinclair locals (which would affect the majority of their customers nationwide) it wouldn't cause them to lose millions of subscribers? Sure you can pick them up via OTA, but Comcast equipment doesn't have an "AM21/LCC" equivalent so you'd have to watch live, no recording possible unless you purchase additional equipment like a Tivo. Most customers would find that unacceptable, and Direct and Dish would undoubtedly benefit by picking up some of the customers who leave Comcast.

The whole reason Sinclair purchased the RSNs was to leverage their locals in the negotiations. They need to align their contract end dates for the RSNs and locals to be the same, but no doubt when new deals are signed they make sure the dates match. No MVPD can afford to permanently lose all Sinclair locals, they would cease to be a viable business in the affected DMAs. Its one thing to lose them for a short time during a dispute, but to lose them forever means most customers would not consider them at all.
 

NashGuy

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I'm just really surprised that Sinclair did not develop an OTT delivery system for Marquee to be sold directly to customers. Take someone within the city of Chicago - regardless of the provider they are using for TV or Internet... just subscribe to the Sinclair OTT platform and you get the Cubs games. Or is there something in place that prevents them from doing that?

That would seem to give Sinclair leverage with Comcast. "Either accept our deal and include Marquee in your TV offering or customers will just use your Internet service to stream Marquee and we'll get all the money."

Although... I suppose the fear might be that there's only a dozen Cubs fans in the Chicago land area and if the OTT service is sold for $12/mo... that's only $144 per month which won't exactly help the Cubs payroll issues.
If you read the article that "Don in CT" linked to above it notes that, yes, RSNs do talk about launching their own direct-to-consumer streaming services for in-market games but that industry observers believe that it's an empty threat to use in negotiations with cable systems such as Comcast.

Here's some hypothetical math. In most areas, Comcast charges their TV customers a regional sports fee of about $8.50 to cover the cost of whatever RSNs they get. In the Chicago area, let's say that half of that amount would go to Marquee, with the other half going to other Chicago area RSN(s). Let's say that a million Comcast customers have Marquee in their channel package, with each of them paying $4.25 to Marquee as part of their Comcast bill. If Marquee were dropped from Comcast completely, their bills would go down by $4.25. What percentage of those Comcast customers would opt to add the separate Marquee streaming service, paying them directly? Let's say 1/3 of them would do so if their total TV bill stayed the same as it had been before Comcast dropped Marquee. In order for Marquee to make just as much money as they did before, they would have to charge 3 times as much, $12.75 per month. But at that price, some consumers would balk. "It's going to cost me $8.50 more per month now to get the same content as I had before! Plus now to watch the Cubs, I have to use a separate app!" See the problem?
 

NashGuy

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Not really. You think that if Comcast permanently dropped all Sinclair locals (which would affect the majority of their customers nationwide) it wouldn't cause them to lose millions of subscribers? Sure you can pick them up via OTA, but Comcast equipment doesn't have an "AM21/LCC" equivalent so you'd have to watch live, no recording possible unless you purchase additional equipment like a Tivo. Most customers would find that unacceptable, and Direct and Dish would undoubtedly benefit by picking up some of the customers who leave Comcast.

The whole reason Sinclair purchased the RSNs was to leverage their locals in the negotiations. They need to align their contract end dates for the RSNs and locals to be the same, but no doubt when new deals are signed they make sure the dates match. No MVPD can afford to permanently lose all Sinclair locals, they would cease to be a viable business in the affected DMAs. Its one thing to lose them for a short time during a dispute, but to lose them forever means most customers would not consider them at all.
My point is that both sides need the other but that Sinclair needs Comcast more than the other way around for the reasons that I stated. (And a reason that I didn't state is that Comcast's main profit center now is broadband, not TV service. One guy on this forum with standalone Comcast broadband said he asked a CSR recently about adding TV and they just responded that it would probably be cheaper for him to add YouTube TV on his own.)

I can't see a Sinclair blackout on Comcast being permanent but I'm saying that Sinclair would likely cave first.
 

evenout

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Here's some hypothetical math. In most areas, Comcast charges their TV customers a regional sports fee of about $8.50 to cover the cost of whatever RSNs they get. In the Chicago area, let's say that half of that amount would go to Marquee, with the other half going to other Chicago area RSN(s). Let's say that a million Comcast customers have Marquee in their channel package, with each of them paying $4.25 to Marquee as part of their Comcast bill. If Marquee were dropped from Comcast completely, their bills would go down by $4.25. What percentage of those Comcast customers would opt to add the separate Marquee streaming service, paying them directly? Let's say 1/3 of them would do so if their total TV bill stayed the same as it had been before Comcast dropped Marquee. In order for Marquee to make just as much money as they did before, they would have to charge 3 times as much, $12.75 per month. But at that price, some consumers would balk. "It's going to cost me $8.50 more per month now to get the same content as I had before! Plus now to watch the Cubs, I have to use a separate app!" See the problem?
But it's not just $8.50 per month.

It's probably upwards of $100/mo (if not more) for a TV package that includes that $8.50 to get the network.

$12.75 is a lot less than $100/mo.

Sure you get a lot more content for that $100/mo... but if it's content I don't watch... it's a waste of $100 (or $91.50 if you want to look at it that way).

Plus it opens you up to more options.

You can get Youtube TV for $60/mo. Plus the $12.75 - or double that to account for both RSNs - and you're looking at $85.50 per month, with no contracts.

But the main point is the cost. Comcast Sports Chicago and Marquee are over valuing themselves because they are looking at subscriber numbers and not actual viewership. Before Comcast Sports Network pays the Cubs $7 thousand billion dollars because eleventy million people have CSN Chicago on their TV... they should've been looking at how many people actually watched the Cubs games. Then CSN Chicago wouldn't have to be worried about how many non-viewing subscribers they have to have to drive down the price per subscriber in order to meet the balance sheets.

They've all let these TV contracts get too big.
 
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Joe The Dragon

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That would seem to give Sinclair leverage with Comcast. "Either accept our deal and include Marquee in your TV offering or customers will just use your Internet service to stream Marquee and we'll get all the money."
Comcast has download cap with overages
 
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Claude Greiner

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Between the sports situation and the lack of HBO, it seems like DISH is moving toward an intermediate position among the three satellite TV providers, with DirecTV at the top (most content, highest prices) and Orby at the bottom (least content, lowest prices).
The only reason why they can get away with it because their customers are generally cheap, don’t buy movie channels and don’t care about sports.

If customers where cancelling in groves the channels would be back already

Take away any sports package on Directv and you would have a riot.
 
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NashGuy

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But it's not just $8.50 per month.

It's probably upwards of $100/mo (if not more) for a TV package that includes that $8.50 to get the network.

$12.75 is a lot less than $100/mo.

Sure you get a lot more content for that $100/mo... but if it's content I don't watch... it's a waste of $100 (or $91.50 if you want to look at it that way).

Plus it opens you up to more options.

You can get Youtube TV for $60/mo. Plus the $12.75 - or double that to account for both RSNs - and you're looking at $85.50 per month, with no contracts.

But the main point is the cost. Comcast Sports Chicago and Marquee are over valuing themselves because they are looking at subscriber numbers and not actual viewership. Before Comcast Sports Network pays the Cubs $7 thousand billion dollars because eleventy million people have CSN Chicago on their TV... they should've been looking at how many people actually watched the Cubs games. Then CSN Chicago wouldn't have to be worried about how many non-viewing subscribers they have to have to drive down the price per subscriber in order to meet the balance sheets.

They've all let these TV contracts get too big.
You raise a couple of good point. Yes, by divorcing a specific RSN from the cable bundle and making it available as a standalone service, you are opening it up to purchase by cord-cutters who don't take any cable bundle. But my hunch is that, since just about all popular sports content remains locked up by cable TV channels, there aren't that many big sports fans who have cut the cord. So I don't know how many folks there are other there who don't already have a cable channel package who would pony up $13 or so just to watch the Cubs. Some, for sure, but I'm still skeptical that the math could work out.

But, yes, the main point, as you say, is the cost of the TV rights contracts for sports. At some point, that bubble will burst and it looks like that may happen with Sinclair holding it.
 

NashGuy

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Don in CT

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Yeah, the market is turning increasingly bearish on the prospects for the whole RSN model. AT&T's ability to sell their 4 RSNs off at a decent price probably depends on the fate of Sinclair and how successful they turn out to be with their newly acquired RSNs. Looks like all AT&T can do with theirs is continue to hold them for awhile...
Very few RSN's are successful. You need a big market and good teams. The majority of the Fox Sports RSN's are mid markets and there are so many of them that they dilute the product.
 

evenout

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But, yes, the main point, as you say, is the cost of the TV rights contracts for sports. At some point, that bubble will burst and it looks like that may happen with Sinclair holding it.
To add to my point about RSNs eyes being bigger than their stomach.

Consider the Extra Innings and MLB.tv offerings. The people that buy those packages... they want to watch baseball. Is there anybody that buys this package and then never watches a baseball game? (Maybe the super rich). But the models on this are more reflective than RSN and ESPN coverage.

If MLB gets 10 billion subscribers to Extra Innings and mlb.tv this year... then they stand a good bet that they'll get 10 billion subscribers again next year.

RSNs and ESPNs and all the other sports channels that get "included" in people's TV offerings - which probably has a lot of people that never watch those channels. If they see 10 billion subscribers this year... that doesn't necessarily mean they'll have 10 billion next year. We're already seeing that, people are cutting the cord and dropping sports because they don't care about them.

Instead of actually focusing on the number of people that watch their content... ESPN and the RSNs just looked at subscriber numbers... because it was larger and larger looks better in an accounting book.

You can also sorta, kinda do this with other content, like movies and TV shows. And this is why I suspect you'll see production companies, studios, and distribution networks focus more on streaming. Take CBS All Access for example - people aren't subscribing to CBS All Access if they don't want to watch the content that is available on that platform. That 1 subscriber to CBS All Access means more than the 1 subscriber on DirecTV that has CBS and may never watch it.
 

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