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#pounditFriday, July 23, 2021

Report: Bally Sports networks could be made available as major streaming package

Bally Sports

A potential new streaming service has major potential to change how local sports broadcasts are watched if it comes to fruition.

According to Josh Kosman of the New York Post, Sinclair Broadcast Group, the owner of the Bally Sports regional family of networks, is raising $250 million from investors to launch a streaming service that includes local sports broadcasts from all of its networks. As currently laid out, the plan would charge users $23 a month for the right to stream MLB, NHL, and NBA games from 42 teams in its 21 territories.

The plan is still in its early stages, and Sinclair is raising the funds in part to show that it is serious about the effort. Sinclair would also have to negotiate with the NBA, NHL, and MLB for streaming rights, a process that has yet to even begin. However, the corporation envisions the service becoming available by the start of the 2022 MLB season.

“This is a major, major development,” a director for a non-Sinclair broadcaster told the Post. “And if Sinclair is successful it will change the industry more quickly than I imagined.”

Sinclair acquired the former FOX Sports regional networks in 2019, and they were rebranded to Bally Sports in 2021. A number of prominent teams play on the family of networks, including teams from Atlanta, St. Louis, Detroit, and Dallas. The Los Angeles Clippers and Angels also appear on the network.

As more and more consumers move away from cable television, a number of streaming services are getting involved in sports broadcast rights. This would be the biggest shift yet, however, as theoretically anyone in an existing Bally Sports market would be able to watch any broadcast from another of its markets as part of one streaming package. That’s not going to make cable companies happy, and one wonders what it would mean for league streaming packages such as MLB Extra Innings and NBA League Pass.

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