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Skyrocketing Sports TV Rights: It’s Not a Game, It’s Big Business


It’s a fact: the steeply rising price of TV sports rights has doubled the basic video bill of Satellite and Cable TV customers over the past decade.1 That’s not just for sports fans, but for everyone.

Why Do I Pay So Much For Sports Networks?

Offensive Play
Originally, most games were free on Broadcast TV. Then ESPN came along and carried games from all leagues for a fee. Now, many leagues, conferences and teams, including college sports, have their own Networks each with its own high fee. Some Networks offer less popular sports or low viewed games and events but demand the same high fee increases. Conferences and Regional Sports Networks account for a fast-growing portion of every TV provider’s monthly bill, and it’s happening in both small towns and big cities.

Forced Play
Escalating salaries of star players and coaches place large financial demands on teams and leagues who drive up programming costs to cover expenses. These costs are passed on from the networks to your TV provider and then to you.

Many teams, leagues and conferences have their own networks and charge TV providers separate, additional fees. To maximize their profits, these sports networks require TV providers to include them on basic lineups, forcing you to pay for sports programming – whether you watch or not.

Next Topic: How Does This Happen?

2021 RSN Bill Credits
Frequently Asked Questions

Why am I getting a credit on my bill?

RCN is receiving rebates from several Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) including NBC Sports, AT&T Sports, and WPIX (New York and Lehigh Valley) for providing a reduced number of live sporting events due to COVID-19. RCN is passing the rebates on to RCN customers as bill credits.

What is a Regional Sports Network?

A Regional Sports Network (RSN) is a cable TV channel that broadcasts professional and collegiate sports programming to a local market.

Who is eligible for the RSN credit?

You may be eligible if you had a RCN’s [Signature TV/Expanded Content] package that included one or more RSNs when live sporting events weren’t provided on these RSNs due to COVID-19 and if RCN received a refund from them.

How much will the credit be?

The amount of the credit depends on the region in which you live, whether RCN received a refund from the RSN(s) in your region, and how many RSN(s) you may have on your channel lineup. These credits will be in upcoming bills labeled as “RSN Credit."

Will there be more RSN credits?

Other programming partners, such as Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns YES, Marquee Sports, and Fox Sports Networks, have not yet agreed that they owe our customers the value they have paid for. We will continue to fight and negotiate on our customers’ behalf to try to gain further savings we can pass along to our customers. We will communicate with you if additional credits will be provided.

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Reprinted from www.pcmag.com with permission. © 2019 Ziff Davis, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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