Bally Sports+ DTC Service to Launch on June 23 in Select Markets
Last month, Sinclair Broadcasting Group revealed the pricing and name of their upcoming streaming service Bally Sports+, but now we know when it will be available to subscribers.
The long-awaited soft launch of the Bally Sports direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming service will come on June 23, as confirmed by the Sports Business Journal. The company had earlier said that it planned for the soft-launch in the first half of the year.
This soft launch will not be the full roll-out of the service. Initially, the DTC streamer will be available in select markets to stream five MLB teams: Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, and Tampa Bay Rays. As The Streamable first reported, the service will cost $19.99 per month or $189.99 annually.
It will be available on Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, iOS, and Android at launch. Roku will come in mid-July.
The company plans to expand the DTC service to stream all NBA and NHL teams that are carried by Bally Sports in the fall. The service would allow fans access to stream NBA, NHL, and select MLB teams on their Bally Sports RSN in their local markets.
Sinclair’s CEO Chris Ripley told the Sports Business Journal in an interview on the soft launch, “This is all about just testing, learning, iterating, and getting our full marketing plans in place.” He continued, “There isn’t necessarily a milestone that I can point you towards that says, this is what marks when we take the next step.”
Currently, Bally Sports RSNs are only available to stream on DIRECTV STREAM as part of their $89.99 Choice Plan. Over the last two years, the channels were dropped by YouTube TV, Sling TV, Hulu, and fuboTV.
Earlier this month, NESN, the regional sports network for the Boston Bruins and Boston Red Sox launched a streaming service to customers in New England for $29.99 per month or $329.99 for an annual subscription, which also happens to come with eight tickets to any Red Sox game during the remainder of the 2022 season.
One of the concerns about the launch of Bally Sports+ is the company’s relatively limited number of teams’ streaming rights, especially in the volume-heavy world of Major League Baseball, which gives the service content in the summer months. In total, Sinclair currently has the streaming rights for 16 NBA teams and 12 NHL teams, as well as five MLB teams.
On their Q1 earnings call, Sinclair execs mentioned that the company was having “constructive dialogue” with other teams and leagues to bolster their rights package. However, due to the plan to have a soft launch in Q2 2022 and a wide launch in the fall, there is not necessarily an immediate time crunch to add more teams.
**Correction: An earlier version of the article said that it would only be available on mobile devices at launch. It will be available on Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, iOS, and Android at launch. Roku will come in mid-July.”