Sports app

Baseball Fans: Why the Bally Sports App May Not Help You

TV Answer Man, I read your article about the Bally Sports streaming app for cord cutters. I think $20 per month would be enough, because it beats DIRECTV Stream for $90 per month, right? I get DIRECTV Stream because it’s the only way I can watch the Bally Sports San Diego channel for the San Diego Padres. I’ll save $70 when the app comes out. —Todd, San Diego.

Todd, as you know, Sinclair, the owner of Bally Sports’ 19 Regional Sports Networks (RSNs), says he plans to launch an app by next month which will allow fans to subscribe directly to their in-market Bally Sports channel without subscribing to a pay-TV service such as cable, satellite, or an over-the-air provider. (DIRECTV Stream is the only live broadcaster that streams Bally Sports.)

Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley revealed last week on a first quarter earnings call that the monthly price for the “cord cutter app” will be $19.99 while the annual price will be $189. $.99.

If you are a sports fan and only care about watching your home team as cheaply as possible, the Bally Sports app seems like a dream come true. A cable or satellite subscription, or DIRECTV Stream, can cost close to $100 per month. (DIRECTV Stream only offers Bally Sports in plans that start at $89.99 per month.) As you note, Todd, you could save at least $70 per month just by subscribing to the Bally Sports app.

However, there could be a catch.

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Sinclair owns regional pay-TV rights to 14 MLB teams, but he says he only got broadcast rights to five of those teams. The company hasn’t officially announced which ones, but it appears to be the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays, according to the local information.

That means Sinclair has no commitments for nine other teams, including your Padres, Todd. (The missing nine teams are the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Guardians, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels.)

Ripley says the initial launch next month will likely only include the five teams, not the 14. He hopes to secure more deals by the fall when he adds 12 NHL teams and 16 NBA teams. to the application. (Unlike MLB, Sinclair got the broadcast rights for the professional hockey and basketball teams he carries on Bally Sports.) But until Sinclair got more offers, most fans baseball in Bally Sports markets will be excluded. The cord cutter app will be worthless to fans of the missing teams as the games will not be available.

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Sinclair, who has invested heavily in the app, is under heavy pressure to sign up the remaining teams, but MLB commissioner Rob Manfred appears to be playing hardball.

“We’ve been very clear with them from the start that we view these two sets of rights as extremely valuable to baseball, and we’re not just going to throw them away to help Sinclair,” Manfred told an athletic conference in Washington. 2021. , according to a Sports Business Journal article.

The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor this situation and report any significant changes here.

Until then, happy viewing and stay safe!

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—Philippe Swann
@tvanswerman