TV Answer Man, do you think Hulu or YouTube TV will start carrying the Bally Sports channels after Bally starts its app for cord-cutters? Won’t that put more pressure on them to start carrying them? — Jerry, Scottsdale, Arizona.
Jerry, Sinclair, which owns the 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks (RSNs), has said it will launch a standalone app in the second quarter that will permit fans to watch their in-market Bally Sports channel without a subscription to cable, satellite or even a streaming service such as YouTube TV or Hulu Live.
The company says the initial app will include at least five Major League Baseball teams (rights have been obtained thus far from the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays.) with NHL and NBA teams added in the second half of the year. (The timetable is likely dependent on Major League Baseball settling its labor dispute with the players.)
However, if the app does launch in the next few months, I don’t think it will place more pressure on Hulu Live and YouTube TV to carry Bally Sports. In fact, I think it may do just the opposite. It may create a scenario where live streaming services (except for DIRECTV Stream) never carry the Bally Sports channels.
Let me explain.
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Whether it’s Hulu Live, YouTube TV, Sling TV or FuboTV, the streamers’ profit margins are so thin that it’s hard for them to justify paying the regional sports channels, which do charge more than most channels. DIRECTV Stream, which does carry Bally Sports, is able to do so by charging a minimum of $90 a month for packages that include them. But YouTube TV, FuboTV and Hulu Live start with base prices under $70 and they want to keep their basic prices as low as possible to attract cord-cutters.
But if they add Bally Sports, or some other RSNs, they will have to raise prices to the point where non-sports fans would balk.
So YouTube TV, FuboTV, Hulu Live and Sling TV would prefer not to carry Bally Sports even though subscribers in the Bally markets who are sports fans are clamoring for them to do so. The subscriber pressure is the only reason why the streamers could relent at some point.
But when Sinclair launches the cord-cutter app, the pressure eases because the streamers can tell their customers that they can subscribe directly to Bally Sports. Consequently, fans would be less likely to drop YouTube TV or Hulu Live if they don’t carry Bally Sports because they will have an alternative.
The irony here is that Sinclair is starting the cord-cutter app in part because the live streamers dropped Bally Sports in 2020. But the app’s launch will likely ensure that they never bring them back.
Jerry, hope that makes sense. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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Do you think this standalone app will succeed? I’ve read they’re shooting for a $20/month subscription fee. I can’t see a lot of people paying that.
So, essentially, we are going back to the regular TV network crap. They managed to work the system. It’s bullshit
There is absolutely no justification for the regional blackout in MLB. The genius commissioner works for the big league owners and no one else benefits from his manipulations. It is acknowledged that professional football outranks baseball in live and tv viewership and even that sport understood that restricting viewership DOES NOT GROW THE FAN BASE! Bully Sports aka Bally Sports cannot understand this simple fact. While it deprives the current fans from seeing their home teams, it is also effectively reducing the future fan base. Translation: Bally is reducing its future customers. The owners will wring their hands and Rob will wonder out loud what happened to our beloved national past time. Greed is killing it and will eventually succeed. Greedy owners and their puppet commissioner.
So true. The future of baseball is very uncertain with these kinds of policies. I haven’t seen a compelte season for over five years. I used to watch every game when I could. They lost me and I am 100% sure that I am not alone. People will adjust, and their policies is going to kill Baseball as fan base shrinks.
I would pay $5-$10 a month for in network games. $10 is even iffy as I only care about it for one single team in a single sport.
I would gladly pay $20 to watch Twins games for a season. Or this year for the rest of the season!! Just let me in.