The steady decline of cable networks, both basic and regional sports networks, has been apparent in recent years as cord cutting and cord shaving have been key themes amongst consumers. Although there have been a slew of indie cable nets that have gone dark in recent years, major cable networks and regional sports networks (RSNs) have seemed able to weather the storm until Friday when The Hollywood Reporter stated that Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) is exiting the RSN business.
However, it won’t do so in the usual way—via putting the channels on the market and selling them to the highest bidder. Rather, WBD reportedly sent a letter to the owner of teams that it airs on its four RSN subsidiaries do not have the money to pay upcoming rights fees and WBD will not fund any shortfalls. WBD has proposed handing control of the RSNs over to the teams and leagues, or putting them into Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
It owns three AT&T SportsNet channels in Denver, Houston & Pittsburgh with a minority interest in Roots Sports in Seattle (with the Mainers owning the other