TV Answer Man, I have Hulu which does not carry Bally Sports. Do you know when Bally Sports will start their app for cord-cutters? — Dom, San Diego.
Dom, Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said in February that his company would launch a Bally Sports streaming app for cord-cutters in the second quarter. The executive said 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. (The app will allow fans to watch their in-market Bally Sports team without a subscription to a pay TV service. They would subscribe directly to Bally Sports.)
However, that forecast has come under question in the last week after the Kansas City Star published comments from Kansas City Royals CEO John Sherman that suggest the Bally Sports launch is not imminent although the second quarter starts this Friday. (The Royals are one of the five teams that Sinclair has secured the digital rights for the app; the company is trying to sign the other MLB teams in the Bally Sports markets.)
“We’re working on some things. Sinclair is working on some things,” Sherman said. “Then long-term, I think there are some really exciting solutions. I don’t know how long it will take. The whole landscape is changing, streaming, the way young people consume the game and connect to teams and players. But there’s a lot of work being done at MLB right now with some really bright people on our media committee. And we’re monitoring Sinclair and that whole situation,” Sherman told the newspaper.
The Kansas City Star also quoted an anonymous source as saying that the app won’t be ready until the summer.
Sherman’s quotes, and the anonymous source’s claim, prompted some publications to suggest that the app has been delayed. However, considering that Ripley said the company is targeting the second quarter, which includes the start of summer, that seems like a false characterization. For example, if the app is launched in late June, it would be summer and meet Sinclair’s targeted time as well.
I think the Kansas City Star article tells us that Sinclair has more work to do, but we knew that before. After all, the company said in February it had only those five MLB teams under contract. It might take until late June or perhaps July to get more teams on board for the launch, if that’s what Sinclair is hoping to do.
The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor this situation and report back here if anything changes.
Until then, happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann