NESN Launches In-Market Streaming Service to Watch Red Sox and Bruins Games For $30 a Month
New England cord-cutting sports fans, today is the day to sing “Sweet Caroline” at the top of your lungs, because NESN has launched a standalone streaming service that will let customers in the New England market watch the regional sports network’s (RSN) coverage of Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins games without having to pay for a traditional cable or satellite subscription.
NESN 360 officially launched on June 1 and is available to customers in New England for $29.99 per month or $329.99 for the annual subscription which also happens to come with eight tickets to any Red Sox game during the remainder of the 2022 season. The new streamer is also offering the first month for just $1 for a limited time.
The move is the first for an RSN.
Chicago's Marquee Sports Network and New York's MSG Network have plans to launch a local streaming service, but they won’t come until end of the year. Since NESN is owned by Fenway Sports Group — which also owns the BoSox — it makes sense that they were able to leverage the streaming rights into this new direct-to-consumer (DTC) RSN platform.
Last month, Sinclair Broadcasting Group announced that their theoretically forthcoming DTC sports streamer Bally Sports+ would launch with a $19.99 per month and $189.99 per year price point. The service will allow fans access to stream NBA, NHL, and select MLB teams on their Bally Sports RSN in their local markets.
The new streamer describes itself as a “first-of-its kind subscription service that provides in-market viewers with all the same streaming and on-demand content available to authenticated cable subscribers.” The out-of-market broadcast rights for Major League Baseball games still reside in the league’s in-house streamer MLB.TV.
“NESN 360 is the latest iteration in NESN’s long history of innovation and providing fans with the best sports viewing experience,” NESN President and CEO Sean McGrail said. “We believe the direct subscription option will build on NESN’s reach in the region, and will be an excellent complement to the existing, valuable partnerships we have with TV providers to bring NESN to all homes in New England.”
This new streaming option is a huge benefit for Boston sports fans as NESN has seen its reach dramatically sink in recent years as carriage agreements with multiple platforms have not been renewed. The RSN was dropped by YouTubeTV in October 2020 and then by Dish in December 2021.
Not being on those two platforms meant that, before the launch of NESN 360, the only way that fans could get the network’s content via streaming was either from DIRECTV STREAM or fuboTV. DIRECTV STREAM’s monthly plan costs $89.99 per month, while fuboTV requires a $70 per month plan plus the $8.99 RSN add-on fee. So while NESN 360 is a bit pricey in comparison to other streaming services, it is a bargain for diehard Beantown sports fans.
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In addition to simulcasts of NESN’s live TV programming — including Red Sox and Bruins games — the DTC streamer will also provide a variety of on-demand content including game highlights, select historical Red Sox and Bruins games, and a library featuring NESN original shows and new, exclusive content being added regularly. Customers who already have access to NESN programming via a traditional TV subscription will also be able to log into NESN 360 with their TV Everywhere credentials to access the new streaming experience.