TV Answer Man, I have YouTube TV and I don’t think it will ever add back the Bally Sports channel here in San Diego so I can watch the (San Diego) Padres. What is going on with Bally’s new channel that I could order without a subscription to another service like YouTube TV or DIRECTV or Cox? — John, San Diego.
John, the 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks (RSNs) are missing on several pay TV services now, including YouTube TV, due to fights over fees. Sinclair, which owns the RSNs, says it plans to launch a streaming app in 2022 that would enable consumers to order their local Bally Sports channel without a subscription to cable, satellite or a multi-channel streaming service.
Many fans are excited about the prospect of being able to get your local Bally Sports network a la carte. But until now, we did not know how much Sinclair might charge for the app. I say until now because the New York Post just reported that the app might cost…$23 a month.
Yes, the newspaper reports that Sinclair, which is raising money to finance the app, is telling investors that it plans to charge $23 a month to watch your local team (or teams) via Bally Sports. (The $23 a month would not give you access to out-of-market games broadcast by the other Bally Sports regional channels, just your market’s teams.)
I suspect the cost is significantly higher than what most fans have been expecting. After all, Netflix charges less than $20 a month as does HBO Max and several other popular streaming services. As a YouTube TV subscriber, if you added the $23 a month Bally Sports app, you would have to pay roughly $90 a month for the combination. That’s not what most people had in mind when they dropped their cable or satellite service to save money.
It remains to be seen if Sinclair actually charges $23 a month when the app is launched, which is likely before the 2022 MLB season. But if it does, the app may not connect with its target audience: cord-cutters.
John, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann