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Report: Sinclair Nearing Deal for In-Market Streaming Rights to NBA Teams For Bally Sports App

Jason Gurwin

Similar to their recent deal with the NHL, Sinclair is nearing a deal with the NBA to offer an in-market direct-to-consumer streaming service, reports Bloomberg.

Sinclair’s Bally Sports Regional Sports Networks currently have the broadcast rights to 16 NBA teams.

Teams that would be included are the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, LA Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, and San Antonio Spurs.

Separately, Bloomberg says that Sinclair is closing in on $600 million in financing to support the launch of the service later this year.

In October, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at the World Congress of Sports said of the Regional Sports Networks, “For now, clearly, the (cable) bundle’s broken. I mean, we’re seeing now an issue that’s very topical at the moment, our regional sports networks, Sinclair in particular, and they’re, we’re trying with them to work through those issues.”

“They paid $10 billion, it’s not clear, it’s a good deal with $5 billion,” Silver said. Sinclair purchased the former Fox Sports RSNs for $9.6 billion in 2019, before rebranding them as Bally Sports Networks.

The company had been circulating a $23 a month price point for the Bally Sports DTC service as part of Sinclair’s fundraising efforts. That number was soundly denied by Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley in an interview with the Baltimore Business Journal.

There is question, despite have access to some in-market streaming rights, whether they could actually launch a direct-to-consumer offering. It is expected that there will be significant pushback from the cable and satellite distributors who pay hefty fees to carry Bally Sports RSNs.

Ripley believes that the company will be able to acquire net new direct-to-consumer subscribers, who no longer subscribe to a cable bundle, rather than cannibalize it. He believes that the wholesale price will continue to be a good value for cable, satellite, and Live TV Streaming distributors.

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