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So, at $20/mo or $190/yr, the pricing is coming in a bit lower than the $23/mo price point that had been originally rumored. If this is successful and Sinclair is able to get lots more NBA, NHL and (especially) MLB teams on board in the coming months, it's bad news for DirecTV Stream, whose main competitive appeal lies in the fact that they're the only streaming cable TV service to offer those Bally Sports RSNs via their $90/mo Choice package. But if you can optionally add that RSN content via a standalone $20/mo app, on top of the $65/mo you pay for YouTube TV or $70/mo you pay for the Disney bundle with Hulu + Live TV, then DTV Stream Choice isn't the only way to go for RSN-lovers.

At $90/mo, it would still competitively priced but you have to imagine that some chunk of customers on DTV Stream Choice would decide to leave for one of the other options and just pick up the Bally app for those months out of the year it carries a local team they want to watch. Or if they want it year-round, then they can actually save money by paying $190/yr for it, which averages out to $15.83/mo. That's aside from those folks who really don't even care much about cable TV except for their local RSN. They might save a ton by switching from DTV Stream Choice to just an OTA antenna plus the Bally app.
 

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Beware the Attack Basset
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So, at $20/mo or $190/yr, the pricing is coming in a bit lower than the $23/mo price point that had been originally rumored.
I suspect that the scope of the teams contracted with is considerably less than it was two years ago.
 

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Better to float $23 and come in at $16 (annual) than float $16 and come in higher.

For the markets where they are available they should do fine until the first price increase.
Especially if the $16 / $20 includes all RSNs (sans out of market games) or all RSNs in one's area.
It is Bally Sports + ... the plus should mean more than just one's local RSN. If Sinclair wants the service to survive.
 

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Sorry but this is going to fail and it's going to fail hard. People are already exhausted from multiple streaming services that are cheaper and offer far more content. And now Sinclair thinks they can offer this that likely will only give people access to their local RSN for $16-20 a month sorry but most people won't pay that just for a few sports games a month.
 

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Beware the Attack Basset
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And now Sinclair thinks they can offer this that likely will only give people access to their local RSN for $16-20 a month sorry but most people won't pay that just for a few sports games a month.
This may well be what it costs when you give the viewers the opportunity to opt out.
 

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I think it will appeal to people that only want to watch sports and people that are using a service that doesn't have RSN's like YTTV, Hulu Live TV etc...except those people are probably subscribed to those service to save money but that RSN will raise their price by $20 per month. And if MLB doesn't get on board it is probably DOA.
 

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This is a huge mistake by MLB. And to a lesser extent the NHL and NBA. $16/month to watch your local team. Or $24/month to watch every other team. Pick one.

This is the same mistake MLB made with the Braves and Cubs, back starting in the late 70s. It should NEVER be easier or cheaper to watch other people’s teams than your own.

They need to include local teams in mlb.tv and raise the price.
 

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Something tells me this will be on shaky ground until it dies or gets swallowed up into another service.
 
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I think there's definitely a market for this. $65 for YouTube TV + $20 for local sports teams = $85/mo, which is still a lot cheaper than what I was paying DirecTV years ago (and I only got 1 of the 2 regional sports teams).

But with the OTT service only having streaming rights to 5 MLB teams, that's going to appeal a lot less to people that aren't within those teams regional market.

The biggest takeaway from all of this, and one that I've been saying for years, Sinclair and all sports entertainment companies are going to realize just how unpopular sports really are and how them dumping millions into broadcast rights was a huge mistake. When you pay $334M a year for broadcast rights (Charter/Dodgers deal) only to find out people aren't going to pay that amount to watch their local team... you bid too high.

Something tells me that the $190/year price won't be sustainable when Sinclair starts losing DirecTV and other television provider customers. In order to continue to pay the teams the absurd amount they paid for broadcast rights that $190/year will have to go up to $300 or $400 per year.
 

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I think there's definitely a market for this. $65 for YouTube TV + $20 for local sports teams = $85/mo, which is still a lot cheaper than what I was paying DirecTV years ago (and I only got 1 of the 2 regional sports teams).

But with the OTT service only having streaming rights to 5 MLB teams, that's going to appeal a lot less to people that aren't within those teams regional market.

The biggest takeaway from all of this, and one that I've been saying for years, Sinclair and all sports entertainment companies are going to realize just how unpopular sports really are and how them dumping millions into broadcast rights was a huge mistake. When you pay $334M a year for broadcast rights (Charter/Dodgers deal) only to find out people aren't going to pay that amount to watch their local team... you bid too high.

Something tells me that the $190/year price won't be sustainable when Sinclair starts losing DirecTV and other television provider customers. In order to continue to pay the teams the absurd amount they paid for broadcast rights that $190/year will have to go up to $300 or $400 per year.
Or switch to Directv stream and pay 90 and get your channels and RSN
 

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Sinclair and all sports entertainment companies are going to realize just how unpopular sports really are and how them dumping millions into broadcast rights was a huge mistake.
In a number of markets, over 2% of the local population (70,000/3,000,000) make it to the NFL stadium on any given Sunday to root in person for the home team. Have you priced going to an NFL game lately? Other sports draw over 1% of the population on a regular basis. Over 10 times as many people watch the games on TV.

Put on a team’s shirt and random people will talk with you about how the team is doing. I know lots of people that follow how the local team is doing, even though they may not watch a game very often. But, it’s always been like that… pick up a newspaper, go to the sports page and check out yesterday’s box score.

The rights have value or companies wouldn’t buy them.

Something tells me that the $190/year price won't be sustainable when Sinclair starts losing DirecTV and other television provider customers. In order to continue to pay the teams the absurd amount they paid for broadcast rights that $190/year will have to go up to $300 or $400 per year.
I don’t see this as a highly subscribed service. I don’t think people that would buy it have left cable in large numbers. I definitely wouldn’t see it’s failure as a lack of interest in sports.


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Of course, the problem with Sinclair/Bally is the rsn's that are not part of the combine, particularly those part of the DirecTV slate (Seattle, Denver, Pittsburg, Houston, did I miss any?) and independents like Marque (?) that does the Cubs. I guess they all are out in the cold. Mlb really missed their chance to go after that 'in market' the last few years, trying to let folks like Sinclair pick up the pieces but even if they get it up and running, a fair chunk of the leagues and fans will be left out in the cold.
 

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Of course, the problem with Sinclair/Bally is the rsn's that are not part of the combine, particularly those part of the DirecTV slate (Seattle, Denver, Pittsburg, Houston, did I miss any?) and independents like Marque (?) that does the Cubs. I guess they all are out in the cold. Mlb really missed their chance to go after that 'in market' the last few years, trying to let folks like Sinclair pick up the pieces but even if they get it up and running, a fair chunk of the leagues and fans will be left out in the cold.
Well, the reason why Sinclair has only gotten 5 MLB teams on board so far is because the MLB is so torn as to how to proceed with direct-to-consumer in-market streaming. The league itself is interested in doing it (why use an outside middle-man like Sinclair?) and already has everything except the individual team streaming rights in place; their existing out-of-market MLB.tv streaming service works well, so they already have the technology and billing all in place. But at the same time, some individual teams (likely the biggest ones like the Yankees) are considering launching their own separate app for in-market streaming as opposed to selling streaming rights to the league to participate in a joint in-market version of MLB.tv. And then you have the Cubs who already have partnered with Sinclair for their own RSN, Marquee Sports Network, which shows nothing but games featuring the Cubs and their farm teams. It's expected that Sinclair will launch a separate Marquee DTC streaming app.
 

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I don’t see this as a highly subscribed service. I don’t think people that would buy it have left cable in large numbers. I definitely wouldn’t see it’s failure as a lack of interest in sports.
Yeah, I don't think it'll get a ton of subs but it should get enough to be a meaningful incremental revenue source. As you say, most folks interested in their local RSN are probably interested enough in the other sports (and some non-sports) content available in the cable channel package to remain subscribed there.

Perhaps a useful comparison would be HBO. It had only ever been available as an add-on to the cable bundle until spring 2015, when it also became available as a DTC app, HBO Now, priced about the same ($15/mo). By the end of 2019, it looks like HBO had a total of about 33 million US subs, 5 million of which were via HBO Now. So the DTC streaming version of the service accounted for about 15% of total domestic subs. We might expect something similar to happen with RSNs within the first few years of their DTC launch.

The thing that differed about HBO, though, was that it was always an optional a la carte addition to the basic cable channel bundle. (Yes, some MVPDs also bundled it into upper-tier packages or included it for "free" as a limited-time bundle perk.) So that made it easier for HBO to begin distribution as a standalone DTC service. What I expect will happen after Sinclair launches their Bally DTCs is that the next time they have to negotiate and renew an MVPD carriage deal for their Bally RSN linear channels, the MVPD will insist on selling them as a la carte options that customers can add to any base channel package, so that at least the MVPD's most popular broad channel package does not automatically include those channels, thereby reducing its cost. (No more mandatory RSN fee on your Comcast or Charter cable TV bill!)
 

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Of course, the problem with Sinclair/Bally is the rsn's that are not part of the combine, particularly those part of the DirecTV slate (Seattle, Denver, Pittsburg, Houston, did I miss any?) and independents like Marque (?) that does the Cubs. I guess they all are out in the cold. Mlb really missed their chance to go after that 'in market' the last few years, trying to let folks like Sinclair pick up the pieces but even if they get it up and running, a fair chunk of the leagues and fans will be left out in the cold.
AT&T Sports Nets
MSG Sports Nets
NBC Sports Nets
Spectrum Sports Nets
 

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What I expect will happen after Sinclair launches their Bally DTCs is that the next time they have to negotiate and renew an MVPD carriage deal for their Bally RSN linear channels, the MVPD will insist on selling them as a la carte options that customers can add to any base channel package, so that at least the MVPD's most popular broad channel package does not automatically include those channels, thereby reducing its cost. (No more mandatory RSN fee on your Comcast or Charter cable TV bill!)
As a follow-up to the above, Sinclair recently divulged that their current RSN carriage contracts with DirecTV (including Stream and Uverse TV) and Comcast both end in the latter half of 2023, i.e. perhaps around the time when the fall NBA and NHL seasons commence and the MLB season is winding down or has finished. Should have a decent idea of how well supported the Bally DTC product will be among teams of all three sports by then.

 

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And then you have the Cubs who already have partnered with Sinclair for their own RSN, Marquee Sports Network, which shows nothing but games featuring the Cubs and their farm teams. It's expected that Sinclair will launch a separate Marquee DTC streaming app.
Marquee rarely shows any minor league games. They do have Cubs content that are feature stories and Cubs history and interviews with celebrity Cubs fans. But they also have a lot of non Cubs stuff like poker, WNBA, Interactive betting programs, golf, Mixed Martial Arts, etc...

When it launched they did say they were interested in making a direct to consumer streaming package but I haven't heard anything about it since the launch.
 
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