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Sinclair CEO Denies $23 Price Point For Bally Sports DTC Service, But Company Documents Show It Will Be Close

Michael King

Reports that Sinclair Broadcast Group plans to charge subscribers $23 a month for the planned direct-to-consumer Bally Sports App are “inaccurate,” according to Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley on Monday.

Ripley made the statement while speaking with the Baltimore Business Journal’s Holden Wilen. He told Wilen that not only was the figure inaccurate, but that Sinclair was doing “market research to determine what a fair price would be.”

However, while Ripley denied the $23 a month service figure, the company has been pitching investors that they would earn about $1.025 billion in subscription revenue with 4.4 million subscribers, based on recent paperwork filed with the SEC.

With that number of subscribers, it would cost subscribers about $19.50 a month for the service — a figure that is well above monthly fees for Netflix, HBO Max, or the Disney Bundle that includes Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+.

Additionally, that assumes that all subscribers would stick around for an entire year, rather than come and go - which could potentially push that subscription price even higher.

The suggested $23 figure was first mentioned earlier this month by the New York Post, which pointed out that subscribers would only have access to the Bally Sports network in their home market. In comparison, DirecTV offers its sports package which includes access to the regional sports networks across the nation, but without live games for about $14 a month.

Sports fans and columnists across the nation were outraged, according to the Business Journal article.

While Ripley demured on the $23 figure, he said that Sinclair has a “massive opportunity” to be a “first mover of premium sports content,” according to the Business Journal.

“Sports needs to transform as so many media businesses need to,” Ripley said.

In the SEC filing, Sinclair points out that the new Bally streaming service would include gaming, sales of fan-based merchandise, ticketing, collectibles, and other sports-related features, in addition to the singular provision of streaming sports programming for viewers.

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