TV Answer Man, I’ve been waiting for Bally Sports to start an app that would let you subscribe without having to get a cable or satellite or a streaming subscription like Hulu or YouTube TV. But I heard their plans for the app is in trouble. Is that true? — Juan, Scottsdale, Arizona.
Juan, Sinclair, which owns the 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks (RSNs), has said it plans to launch a streaming app in 2022 that would enable fans to subscribe to their in-market NBA, NHL and MLB games without needing a pay TV subscription.
The company has not revealed pricing details (although one report suggests it could be more than $20 a month) or exactly when the app would be available. But Sinclair executives have said they hope to offer it prior to the 2022 Major League Baseball season.
But just a minute, says MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.
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Baseball’s top executive this week said Sinclair currently does not have rights to offer his league’s teams in a standalone streaming app.
“We’ve been very clear with them from the beginning that we see both those sets of rights as extraordinarily valuable to baseball, and we’re not just going to throw them in to help Sinclair out,” Manfred told a sports conference, according to a Sports Business Journal article.
Not only that, Manfred inferred that Sinclair’s subsidiary, Diamond Sports Group, which manages the RSNs, may have too many financial issues to successfully obtain the streaming rights. The subsidiary has a significant debt problem and could be headed for bankruptcy, some industry analysts say.
The commissioner also said the league would likely require a significant ownership stake in any streaming venture.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver later piled on at the conference with a comment noting that Diamond is having serious financial issues. He did say, however, that the league is trying to work with Sinclair to improve the situation.
It’s rare for a sports commissioner to be so open about the troubles facing a partner such as Sinclair which pays an enormous amount of money for the rights to games. But when two commissioners do it in the same day, well, it doesn’t bode well for Sinclair’s plan for a standalone app.
It could still happen, but it appears that Sinclair will need some ninth inning magic to persuade Manfred and Silver that it’s in their best interest.
Juan, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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They have shot themselves in the foot!!! I had YTTV when the RSN were there. Loved it! But without RSN, I have no use for live streaming, so I dropped them too. Now every streaming service but one has dropped the RSN. Cable is the only option, along with one streaming service. All because of their greed! But their greed is also hurting MLB. (They’re greedy too, BTW). I watch the Braves. I read the other day the ratings this year are off more than 20%!! Reason: all the cord cutters that no longer watch. And there are a lot!!! I refuse to go back to cable! And Sinclair refuse to ask less for their networks. So….ratings will continue to drop. Just how stupid are these people???? I hope they go bankrupt!
The restructuring or demise of the RSN is eminent. You can’t force all pay TV subscribers to fork over fees for a network that only a small percentage of said subscribers want or watch. Further the rates the RSNs are requesting are unreasonable. The contracts said RSNs signed with the sports teams and/or the related leagues is a financial burden of their own making. The pay TV providers that are saying no to the RSNs fully understand the conundrum. With the app now in jeopardy, there is only on viable path. Local channels, similar to what WOR-TV 9 in New York used to do. They televised road games for the Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, Nets, Mets and Devils. The money trough is over.
I miss the good ol days when you could just watch your local teams on a basic local channel. Easy access gets more fans interested in your teams and invest your merchandise etc. In AZ there is currently only one cable outlet that shows Suns, DBacks and Coyotes games. We had Direct TV but made the switch to Dish to get Pac 12 network and Fox Sports which is now Bally Sports. Dish dropped Bally when it took over. Direct TV Stream is the only Stream option and it is rediculously expensive! Today no matter what cable/satalite/streaming option you go with, you sacrifice certain sports over others. And in today’s age where we get more tv and movie options through apps like Netflix we don’t want to pay an arm and a leg to get live sports. I would get NBA team pass on the NBA app but the stupid blackout rules!!!! Im not paying more than $20 a month if Bally thinks so. Get out of here with that.
Local teams, get the rights back to your local tv channels that you can get over an antenna and build your fan base the correct way like you did for so long!!!!!!! Don’t make it harder to be a sports fan!!!
8 billion in debt i think they are in trouble…..