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Sinclair CEO Says Bally Sports DTC with All Games ‘Most Likely Outcome’, Not Surprised if Fubo Adds More RSNs

Jason Gurwin

While Sinclair has confirmed that a Direct-to-Consumer streaming service for Bally Sports Regional Sports Networks (RSN), they continue to be hush on details. However, at the JPMorgan Global Technology, Media, and Communications Conference, Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said that while they are still working out the details, “a full slate of games is a distinct possibility, probably the most likely outcome in terms of what’s offered here.”

Ripley said that the company is still figuring out the details on pricing, whether it will be monthly or annually, but they do have the go-ahead from cable and satellite companies to launch this. The key reason why is that Ripley says there is “there will be substantial difference in price of what the distributors on a wholesale basis versus what the retail cost would pay for direct and an unbundled offering.”

Previously, we’ve speculated that it could be higher than $40 a month to get Bally Sports RSN, but that might be subsidized by sports betting.

When asked if distributors were given any incentives to agree to allow Sinclair to launch a DTC streaming service, he said that ultimately it comes down to “pricing protection” of the bundled offering.

He said that the response from the league’s are very positive on the concept of the new service. “The teams are really — and the leagues are really focus on getting more streaming options into the hands of fans. It’s a huge focus for them. There really is no practical way for them to do it on their own. We are their leading partner, and so we have to do it better.”

In the meantime, the company has launched the Bally Sports App to those with access to RSNs via their cable, satellite, or streaming provider. Ripley said the they’ve seen more 4.5 million unique devices since launch actually use the app, which was automatically updated from Fox Sports Go.

He said the new app allows them to “consume a mix of not only the linear streams, VOD content, editorial content that we’ve added…making a destination for the sports fan.”

When asked about whether or not the RSNs could come back to vMVPDs like Hulu Live TV, YouTube TV and fuboTV –– he didn’t have any specific updates, but did specifically call out fuboTV as a potential option.

“In terms of Fubo, I do think when you take a look at what they’re doing, I don’t have a particular insight into their business, but are trying different business models (referring to their RSN Fee) that you can see. And so I wouldn’t be surprised to use picking up more RSNs.”

In March, fuboTV picked up Marquee Sports Network, which is a joint-venture between Sinclair and the Chicago Cubs. fuboTV now charges a $5-6 RSN Fee in many markets where RSNs are available.

In 2020, YouTube TV, Hulu Live TV, and fuboTV dropped the channels. In 2019, both Dish Network and Sling TV dropped the channels from their service.

In the meantime, to access them, you will need a subscription to AT&T TV Choice Plan ($84.99), which recently added an Unlimited DVR and 20 Simultaneous Streams (in-the-home).

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