Sinclair is close to signing a deal to carry in-market NBA games on its planned Bally Sports standalone app which will be designed to appeal to cord-cutters.
That’s according to an article from Bloomberg News. The news service reports that Sinclair’s sports business unit, Diamond Sports Group, is also close to securing $600 million in loans for the app.
“The new loan for Diamond Sports Group’s venture could be announced along with local NBA streaming rights as soon as (this) week, according to people with knowledge of the matter,” Bloomberg writes.
If the deal is finalized, it would give Sinclair the in-market digital rights to both NHL and NBA teams in the Bally Sports markets. (Sinclair announced last month that it secured the streaming rights to 12 NHL teams.)
That should be sufficient for Sinclair to launch the cord-cutter app this spring as planned although it has only announced digital deals for four MLB teams to date. Sinclair executives have expressed confidence that it will sign the remaining teams in its markets although MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has questioned the venture’s financing. But the $600 million in loans could help alleviate Manfred’s concerns. (Bally Sports has the cable/satellite rights to 14 MLB teams.)
It’s still unclear what Sinclair would charge for the standalone app which would enable sports fans to subscribe directly to Bally Sports for its coverage of an in-market team. The New York Post has reported Sinclair is considering a price tag over $20 a month, but Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley has discounted that report.
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— Phillip Swann