DirecTV and Spectrum Networks have reached a new, multi-year distribution agreement for the Spectrum SportsNet and SportsNet LA regional sports networks. The deal could result in lower subscription prices for subscribers less interested in having access to live sports.
For those living in the Los Angeles area, DirecTV and DirecTV Stream already offered access to Spectrum SportsNet (channel 691) to watch the Lakers and SportsNet LA (channel 690) to watch the Dodgers.
As a result, this deal is more of an updated agreement rather than a new agreement to carry the channels, as was the case with MeTV. DirecTV also confirmed it had agreed a new deal with Weigel Broadcasting Co. today, resulting in the addition of Memorable Entertainment Television to both DirecTV and DirecTV Stream.
DirecTV and Spectrum Networks have agreed “a significantly lower penetration threshold,” according to the details of the agreement, and this will make it possible for DirecTV to “provide more affordable and flexible options to customers not interested in premium sports programming while also serving those who want live NBA Los Angeles Lakers and MLB Los Angeles Dodgers games.”
While neither company has confirmed just how low the new penetration threshold is, the suggestion here is that it is low enough to make it easier to not have to offer these channels to as many subscribers as before.
Based on the wording of the announcement, it also seems to suggest that the new agreement might result in the option for DirecTV Stream subscribers to opt-out of these RSNs to save on the cost of their live TV package. Whether that actually happens remains to be seen but, as we’ve been learning recently, anything is possible when it comes to regional sports networks.
It is worth noting that this change appears to be part of a much wider strategy that Charter Communications, the owner and operator of Spectrum Networks, is currently undertaking. According to Sports Business Journal, Charter plans to offer a new and cheaper package that doesn’t include RSNs.
Naturally, if Charter is planning to offer a cheaper Spectrum TV Select plan that doesn’t include RSNs, it makes sense that it would also be willing to revise any deals it has with third-party live TV services. For example, the new Spectrum SportsNet and SportsNet LA agreement announced today.