Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley says his company is still poised to launch a Bally Sports streaming app for cord-cutters in the second quarter. The executive says the initial launch will include at least five Major League Baseball teams with NHL and NBA teams added in the second half of the year.
Ripley made his remarks in an analyst call yesterday following the release of the company’s fourth quarter report.
Sinclair has secured the in-market digital rights to the 16 NBA and 12 NHL teams in the markets where the Bally Sports channels are available. But the company has only acquired the in-market streaming rights to 5 MLB teams: Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays. (Bally Sports has the in-market cable/satellite rights to 14 MLB teams.).
But Ripley says the five MLB teams are enough for a “soft” launch of the app sometime between April 1 and the end of June.
“Our current expectations are for the launch of streaming services with content currently available on our RSNs for 5 Bally Sports RSNs with MLB teams in the first half of 2022,” Ripley said, adding that he expects to sign up more MLB teams. “We expect to launch our remaining Bally Sports RSNs in the second half of the year, as well as features only subscription.
“With our recent renewals of the NBA and NHL, we currently plan on launching in 2022, a D2C product that includes at least 33 teams, all of the NBA and NHL teams for which we have digital rights (and) 5 MLB teams.”
It’s still unclear what Sinclair will 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 Ripley has discounted that report.
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