Fox Sports Southwest, channel for most Texas Rangers games, blacked out on DISH and Sling

Texas Rangers fans using DISH Network or Sling TV will miss tonight’s game against the Oakland A’s after Fox Sports Regional Networks and the TV providers failed to come to an agreement on pricing in their contract.

The blackout of Fox Sports Regional Networks on DISH comes as DirecTV and AT&T U-verse customers are unable to view CBS channels for the same reason.

Fox Sports, which is currently pending a $10 million sale to Sinclair Broadcast Group, is “demanding unreasonable rates and attempting to make DISH customers pay for the channels, whether they get them or not,” the TV provider said in a news release.

Similarly to the AT&T-CBS dispute, Fox Sports regional channels and DISH are blaming each other for the blackout.

Fox Sports Southwest, which broadcasts the Texas Rangers, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Stars, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans, said DISH has rejected offers to extend their contract under the current agreement.

A spokeswoman for DISH said in an email that the sports broadcaster’s extension offer went up against the 2020 Major League Baseball opening day, accusing them of using baseball fans as a tool in negotiations. That deal would only delay putting fans in the middle of a contract dispute, the spokeswoman said.

The news release from DISH says Fox Sports networks also rejected an offer to extend the contract and that the TV provider has tried to find a middle ground, but could not.

Fox Sports Regional Networks’ website says in its Q&A that the network is not asking DISH and Sling TV customers to pay more for the channels.

DISH said that Fox Sports Regional Networks are asking DISH to make the channels a part of all TV packages, meaning all customers would have to pay for Fox Sports channels whether they want them or not.

“The regional sports TV business model is broken,” Andy LeCuyer, DISH senior vice president of Programming, said in the release. “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.”

The MLB Extra Innings channels will not carry hometown team games, according to the Fox Sports Regional Networks website. Most Texas Rangers games are broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest, but occasional games will be shown on ESPN or Fox 4. The Rangers have a schedule with TV broadcasts, as well as radio stations that will carry the games, on their website.

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James Hartley is the Arlington city government reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He is passionate about local politics, true stories, movies and baseball. He has worked for the Tyler Morning Telegraph, D Magazine and the Dallas Observer. You can connect with James on Twitter @ByJamesHartley or Instagram @JamesTakesPhotos. Want reporters like James to help you stay informed about your community? You can help the Star-Telegram continue to offer great local, political, sports and culture news by purchasing a digital or print subscription today.