Can’t Watch The Game? Blame Everyone.

It would be so much easier to explain why the regional sports TV networks owned by Sinclair division Diamond Sports known to viewers as “Bally Sports” aren’t on Comcast, the giant cable company known to its remaining customers as “Xfinity” if there was someone to root for other than the baseball team you can’t watch on TV today. But it’s not that simple.

Everyone is to blame because the TV business is a mess right now.

In this case, it’s bankrupt TV network fighting against a cable company with a core business that’s hemorrhaging customers. And the customer, who just wants to watch games to escape from the world a little bit, is thrust into a business dispute.

When there were basically three channels, plus an independent channel, in every market, television was a license to print money. When everything switched to cable, the audience splintered, but it was still a gold mine. Now, here we are in the “cord cutting” era, and a network is in bankruptcy and a cable company claims it doesn’t have cash. More could easily follow (here’s what we wrote last year about 2025), along with continued cuts to local stations and channels even channels you’ve watched for years at risk.

For decades, consumers long hated cable’s version of customer service. That was a primary driver of cord cutting. Viewers hate the nickel and dimeing of streaming, they say, but at least they won’t have to wait in a four-hour window for someone to come to their house and replace a box they pay every month to have. Or they say they won’t have to get hung up on by an operator in Singapore who doesn’t know Bally Sports from the ACC Network. OK, maybe they don’t say that. Maybe I said that. You certainly feel it.

But “carriage disputes” aren’t far behind on the list of consumer grievances. If you grew up turning on the TV and having the channel you watched always be on when it was supposed to be, then you don’t care about billion dollar operations fighting each other. From a PR standpoint, nobody wins because it’s everybody’s fault.

What we’re seeing in this case isn’t the problem. It’s a symptom of a problem. The TV business is struggling to change fast for the reasons why industries usually change – technology and consumer behavior.

If you pay any attention to the media business, you saw newspapers change, and the quantity of news disappear. You heard radio change, with local voices disappearing. Now you’re seeing TV change. What will disappear beyond today’s games has yet to be seen. But be ready for it.