What Is a Regional Sports Network?

RSNs are channels dedicated to televising local sports within a designated territory. Keep reading to learn more on how you can get RSN coverage.

Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) are sports-oriented TV channels dedicated to a local market or geographic area. The primary purpose of an RSN is to air live sporting events featuring teams within its broadcast area.

You can usually find these regional channels in higher-priced TV plans, but not every TV provider carries every RSN. With carriage disputes as prevalent as ever, RSNs are becoming more difficult to find among cable, satellite, and live TV streaming services.

We’ll explain why you would want an RSN in your channel lineup and how you can tune in.

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What’s on regional sports networks?

As the name suggests, regional sports networks (RSNs) specialize in broadcasting local sports. Each channel’s live game programming depends on the sports teams located within the designated broadcast area.

RSN programming also depends on if the network has a licensing agreement with the teams or leagues in its broadcast region. For example, multiple RSNs serve the New York metropolitan area, but only SportsNet New York (SNY) airs live New York Mets games.

Pro tip: Head over to DIRECTV’s local RSN lookup tool and enter your zip code to see which RSNs are available in your area.

Typically, RSNs show anything from high school athletics to major league sports. You may even see less common sporting events like surfing, poker, and fishing competitions. In fact, some RSNs should really be labeled as RFNs (regional fish networks) for all the fishing content they air.

Outside of live events, RSNs also show classic game replays, documentaries, and region-specific studio shows. It’s like having an ESPN channel dedicated to your neck of the woods.

What’s a regional blackout?

A regional blackout is when content doesn’t air in a certain area because a broadcaster in another region has the exclusive rights. TV blackouts exist to protect the exclusivity of RSNs and other local broadcasters.

The only legal way to avoid regional blackouts is to subscribe to an out-of-market sports package.

How do I get regional sports networks?

You can only get RSN access by subscribing to a TV provider that carries the RSNs specific to your home area.

Most cable, satellite, and even live TV streaming services offer RSNs, but not every RSN is available through every TV provider. For instance, while fuboTV offers a variety of RSNs, that assortment won’t matter to you if none of the RSNs are available to your region.

Before committing to any TV package, you’ll want to verify the provider’s channel lineup with your zip code.

Find local providers with RSN access

Enter your zip code below to view TV providers in your area and compare their RSN offerings.

Please enter a valid zip code.

List of RSNs

  • Altitude Sports
  • AT&T SportsNet
    • AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh
    • AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain
    • AT&T SportsNet Southwest
  • Bally Sports
    • Bally Sports Arizona
    • Bally Sports Detroit
    • Bally Sports Florida
    • Bally Sports Great Lakes
    • Bally Sports Indiana
    • Bally Sports Kansas City
    • Bally Sports Midwest
    • Bally Sports New Orleans
    • Bally Sports North
    • Bally Sports Ohio
    • Bally Sports Oklahoma
    • Bally Sports San Diego
    • Bally Sports SoCal
    • Bally Sports South
    • Bally Sports Southeast
    • Bally Sports Sun
    • Bally Sports West
    • Bally Sports Wisconsin
  • Buckeye Cable Sports Network
  • Marquee Sports Network
  • MSG Network
  • MSG+
  • MSG Western New York
  • Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN)
  • Midco Sports Network
  • NBC Sports regional networks
    • NBC Sports Bay Area
    • NBC Sports California
    • NBC Sports Chicago
    • NBC Sports Washington
    • NBC Sports Boston
    • NBC Sports Philadelphia
  • New England Sports Network (NESN)
  • ROOT SPORTS Northwest
  • Service Electric Network
  • SportsNet New York (SNY)
  • Spectrum OC16
  • Spectrum Sports
  • Spectrum SportsNet
  • Spectrum SportsNet Los Angeles
  • SportsTime Ohio
  • SWX Right Now
  • YES Network
  • YurView California

How do I stream regional sports networks?

You can watch RSNs with a live TV streaming service, but most don’t carry a wide selection of RSNs. For instance, Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and YouTube TV don’t offer popular RSN groups like AT&T SportsNet and Bally Sports.

DIRECTV STREAM is the best live TV streaming service for RSN coverage. With a large selection of RSN offerings, DIRECTV STREAM will most likely carry your regional network. You can verify this information by visiting DIRECTV STREAM’s channel lookup tool and entering your zip code on the Regional Sports tab.

You can also stream some RSNs directly on the RSN’s website or dedicated app. If you already subscribe to a cable or satellite TV provider with RSN access, you just need to log in to the RSN’s website or app by signing in with your TV provider’s credentials.

What are out-of-market sports packages?

Out-of-market sports packages are subscription services that give you access to regional content that originates from outside your home region. Apart from RSNs, subscribing to an out-of-market sports package is the only way you can watch non-nationally televised sporting events.

These types of TV packages are designed for sports fans who support non-local teams or who want complete league access.

Using a VPN to watch regional sports

You can work around regional blackout restrictions using a VPN (virtual private network) with your out-of-market sports package. This method only works for streaming services, as you’ll use the VPN to manually connect to an internet server located outside of the region you want to access.

Let’s say you’re a San Diego Padres fan who lives in San Diego, but you don’t want to pay for an entire TV plan just to watch Padres games. Instead, you can subscribe to MLB.TV and use a VPN service to connect to a server in Los Angeles. You’ll then be able to access all locally broadcasted Padres games on MLB.TV—though, you’ll then have Los Angeles Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers games blacked out.

While some VPNs have a history of being blocked by various streaming services, you’ll want to make sure you choose a high-quality VPN for the fastest and most secure experience. Check out our Best VPN Services guide for a closer look at our top recommended VPNs.

List of out-of-market sports packages

Package Service type Details
ESPN+
Learn more
Streaming View Plan
MLB EXTRA INNINGS
Learn more
Cable and satellite View Plan
MLB.TV
Learn more
Streaming View Plan
MLS Direct Kick
Learn more
Cable and satellite View plan
NBA League Pass
Learn more
Cable, satellite, and streaming View Plan
NFL SUNDAY TICKET
Learn more
Satellite View Plan
NHL Center Ice
Learn more
Cable and satellite View plan
WNBA League Pass
Learn more
Streaming View Plan

Final take

Regional sports networks (RSNs) are not viewer-friendly. The region-specific channels are usually found in higher-tiered TV plans, and not all providers carry them. Sure, RSNs will get you a lot of local sports coverage, but their content offerings outside of major league sports are weak and sometimes rather fishy.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many legal ways to ditch RSNs and still get local sports coverage. But you can try using a VPN with an out-of-market sports package to elude regional blackouts without buying into a full TV plan.

Methodology

Our TV experts have hand-tested RSNs for several years across various TV providers and network regions. We’ve also spent over 200 hours researching and analyzing RSN content offerings in relation to MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, and NHL programming.

Visit our How We Rank page to learn more about our methods.

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