Sinclair CEO: Bally Sports DTC to Launch with ‘Attractive Price Point’ as Compared to Other Sports Streamers
Slowly, but surely, Sinclair Broadcasting appears to be continuing to move forward with its long-gestating sports direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming platform. On Monday, Diamond Sports — the Sinclair subsidiary that oversees the Bally Sports brand — announced a new board of managers complete executives with long ties in the sports, broadcasting, and streaming industires.
The board’s new chair will be Randy Freer the former CEO of Hulu and President and COO of Fox Networks Group and co-President of Fox Sports Media. Also joining the board will be David Preschlack who has worked at NBC, Disney, and ESPN in sports marketing and most recently served as the President of NBC Sports Regional Networks.
Maryann Turcke, a senior adviser to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, and formerly the Chief Operating Officer of the National Football League has also joined the board as well, as has Bob Whitsitt who previously served as a Senior Executive in both the NBA and the NFL. They will be joined by Chris Ripley, the Chief Executive Officer of Sinclair.
The new board became effective on May 1 replacing the previous three-person board. The reshuffled lineup was brought together in order to ramp up the company’s efforts to get their regional sports network (RSN) streaming service into the market this year.
“With the start of the full Major League Baseball season, our Bally Sports RSNs opened to strong TV audiences with household viewing impressions up versus the same period last year,” Ripley said. “This should bode well for the DTC soft launch of five RSNS with MLB teams later this quarter and then a full DTC launch this September. While the DTC pricing will be announced closer to going live, it is anticipated to have an attractive price point as compared to other similar professional sports DTC offerings.”
Sinclair currently owns the streaming rights to 38 MLB, NBA, and NHL franchises already available on Sinclair stations, and plans a soft launch of its streamer this quarter centered on their five baseball franchises.
Through their RSN Bally Sports App, Sinclair has been promising a DTC sports streaming app since early 2021. According to Sinclair's projections, the app will cost $225 per year, which comes out to $18.75 per month. The company had been circulating a $23 per month price point for the service as part of Sinclair’s recently closed fundraising efforts. That number was soundly denied by Ripley in an interview with the Baltimore Business Journal.
If it is going to be “attractive” compared to other services, the closest comparisons are the league’s out-of-market packages. MLB.TV costs $24.99 a month, while NBA League Pass Premium costs $29.99 a month. NFL Sunday Ticket costs $74 a month, while NHL.TV is now part of ESPN+ $6.99 a month plan.