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Sinclair's Bally Sports+ Set Nationwide Launch Date In Sports Streaming Milestone – Deadline

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Sinclair Broadcast Group’s regional sports division has concluded a challenging multi-year development process, setting September 26 as the nationwide launch date for its consumer streaming service Bally Sports+.

At $19.99/month or $189.99/year, Bally Sports+ makes it one of the most expensive streaming options on the market, but the company believes that many die-hard sports fans without a pay-TV subscription will be able to watch their local team. I hope you will rush to watch the game. Operated by Diamond Sports Group, a Sinclair subsidiary, the 19 Bally networks broadcast Major League Baseball, NBA and NHL games, as well as a variety of college and prep sports. The company says it plans to release additional pricing options once the service launches.

At launch, Bally Sports+ will be available on mobile and tablet devices running iOS or Android, Android TV, TvOS, and BallySports.com. Roku and Amazon Fire TV are not yet mentioned. These are his two key gateways for streaming in the US. Big pay-TV operators like Dish Network and YouTube TV, the company has left Barry’s network in the shadows at these major hubs.

The rollout is a milestone in the sports media business and the biggest test to date of the ability to move the legacy model of a profitable regional sports network into the digital age. These networks were long known as Fox RSNs until they were rebranded in 2021. When Disney acquired most of his 21st Century Fox in 2019, it sold the network to avoid regulatory issues related to ESPN ownership. Sinclair led a coalition of buyers in a $10.6 billion deal. Byron Allen holds a small stake, but Sinclair owns almost 100% of his Diamond.

A few months ago, five Bally networks launched their streaming services. At the same time, Sinclair said he has secured his $635 million funding deal to fund streaming initiatives. In addition to the technical requirements, the company is moving away from the long-established pay-TV model, where carriers charge customers for access to RSNs, to a direct-to-consumer model. I’m here. Diamond welcomed former Fox Sports and Hulu boss Randy Freer to its new board of directors, along with former NBC, Disney, and ESPN executive David Preschlack as he navigates the shift. Marian Turke, senior adviser to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and former COO of the league. Former NBA and NFL senior executive Bob Whitsit.

The Covid curtain came down just months after the Sinclair-led acquisition of RSN was completed, posing significant challenges. With months of games removed from the schedule, there was a fight between leagues, network owners and customers over rebates and make-up. With the worst of the pandemic coming out, viewership trends promising, and companies like Amazon, Apple, and Peacock popularizing the idea of ​​watching live sports over the internet, Bally sees an opportunity. I think so.

Chris Ripley, CEO of Sinclair, said, “Today is an important step forward for the RSN industry, offering local sports fans a new way to watch their local teams across Bally Sports’ locations. “We see Bally Sports+ as a complementary complement to the incredible value our distribution partners bring to our linear network. We are uniquely positioned to help expand our tiers.”

Michael Schneider, COO and GM of Bally Sports+, called the national launch “an important moment in the evolution of RSN, but also a great moment for local fans who have another viewing option for their favorite team.” I’m here.