TV Answer Man, DIRECTV Stream just raised its price so do you think that will help Bally Sports Plus get more subscribers? — Carl, Scottsdale, Arizona.
Carl, DIRECTV Stream this week announced that it will raise its Choice plan from $89.99 a month to $99.99 a month on January 22, 2023. The live streamer’s three other plans, Entertainment, Ultimate and Premier, will see $5 a month price hikes on the same day.
But the $10 increase for the Choice plan is the big one here because it means that a cord-cutting sports fan would have to pay roughly $100 a month to watch their local teams. DIRECTV Stream provides more regional sports channels than any other live streaming service, but it requires a Choice plan or above.
(Unlike Sling TV, YouTube TV, Hulu Live and FuboTV, DIRECTV Stream carries the 19 Bally Sports RSNs as well as particularly tough-to-find local sports channels such as MASN, Altitude and SportsNet LA, among others.)
At $100 a month, you might as well stay with cable or satellite, assuming your cable/satellite operator carries the regional sports network in your market. (And besides Dish, most do.)
But what if you still don’t want to subscribe to cable or satellite? Is there any other option?
NESN, the TV home of the Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox, last year began offering a stream directly to consumers for $30 a month. If you all want is NESN, that’s a possibility. Marquee Sports, the TV home of the Chicago Cubs, and NBC, which owns and/or operates seven regional sports networks, is contemplating offering them on its streaming service, Peacock, but there’s no timetable for that.
And then there’s Bally Sports Plus, the direct-to-consumer streaming service owned by Sinclair which costs $19.99 a month or $189.99 a year. The Bally Sports app streams the live games of 16 NBA and 12 NHL teams.
But while Sinclair has the cable/satellite rights to 14 MLB teams, it says it has only secured the streaming rights to five MLB teams thus far. They are the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Sinclair hopes to add more MLB teams before the 2023 MLB season. But any benefit that Bally Sports Plus receives from the DIRECTV Stream price increase would be greatly diminished in April if it doesn’t add more.
For now, I could see some DIRECTV Stream subs switching to Bally Sports Plus if they live in a Bally Sports market. But if they can’t watch their local MLB team on Bally Sports Plus during the 2023 season, they might switch back, get cable or satellite, or do without come spring.
Carl, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann