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Sinclair CEO: After Acquiring FOX RSNs, Sports Content May Come To Free Streaming Service STIRR

Jason Gurwin

Last week, Sinclair acquired 21 Fox Regional Sports Networks (RSNs), as well as Fox College Sports for $10.6 billion. The RSNs includes exclusive local rights to 42 professional teams consisting of 14 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, 16 National Basketball Association (NBA) teams, and 12 National Hockey League (NHL) teams.

When the deal was announced on Friday, there was much speculation of what this might mean for streamers. Today we learned a little more of what Sinclair’s plans are for the channels, and how they might affect cord-cutters.

When asked how the RSNs fit in with STIRR, the company’s ad-supported streaming service, Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said “we see first from the RSN programming, non-game programming being used on STIRR.” But, he does see a path for live games as well, “we may very well populate games as well, but that’s to be determined.”

It is unlikely that Sinclair will give the games away for free, as it could jeopardize their lucrative deals with pay-tv providers. However, it could be offered on “an authenticated basis” using your TV Everywhere credentials, or in a limited capacity for just select games.

Sinclair, who also owns The Tennis Channel, has already launched a free channel on STIRR that includes shows, as well as replays of classic matches. The company also expects to expand their Tennis Channel Plus OTT service internationally. The channel which already has a presence in the U.S., where they acquired OTT rights to WTA matches, will be launching starting in Europe next year.