TV Answer Man, is there anything new with the Bally Sports app for cord-cutters? Will it come out soon and have they set a price on it? — Jamal, Phoenix.
Jamal, as you probably know, Sinclair, the owner of the 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks (RSNs), has said it plans to launch an app that will allow fans to subscribe directly to their in-market Bally Sports channel without a subscription to a pay TV service such as cable or satellite.
The company has said the app should be available in the second quarter, which ends on July 1. But some reports have suggested it could be delayed.
However, Sinclair this week issued a press release announcing a new board of managers for the Diamond Sports Group, the Sinclair unit that manages Bally Sports, and the statement offered some up-to-date guidance on both the launch timing and the possible pricing.
Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley reiterated in the release that the app will still be ‘soft-launched’ this quarter with a full launch in September. The executive said the initial launch will include five Major League Baseball teams (Sinclair now has digital rights deals with Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays).
Ripley has previously said the NHL and NBA teams (and perhaps more MLB teams) will be added at the full launch, which now appears to be targeted for September.
In the release, Ripley also said that the app’s pricing will be announced “closer to going live.” But he added that “it is anticipated to have an attractive price point as compared to other similar professional sports DTC (direct-to-consumer) offerings.”
That would suggest the price will be comparable to the cost of such plans as MLB TV ($139.99 a season or $24.99 a month), NBA League Pass ($199.99 a season, $28.99 a month) or the NFL Sunday Ticket ($293 a season for the base plan.) With the New York Post reporting last year that Sinclair was considering a $23 a month price point, something around $20-25 a month sounds right.
Update: Sinclair’s Ripley revealed today in a first quarter earnings call that the monthly price will be $19.99 while the annual price will be $189.99.
The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor this situation and report back here if anything significant changes.
Until then, happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann