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Sinclair plans to launch a DTC to expand Bally Sports' RSN range

Sinclair Broadcast Group announced plans to extend Bally Sports' Regional Sports Network (RSN) broadcast about streaming directly to the consumer (DTC) in the first half of 2022.

Already in preparation for DTC launch

The plans were made public during a talk about the company's first-quarter earnings after Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley told investor analysts to the broadcasting group, "We've already paved the way for distributors to direct to consumers."

"We have direct consumer rights for the vast majority of our teams, and we're in talks to increase those rights to make the product even better."

Chris Ripley, CEO, Sinclair Broadcast Group

While Ripley did not go into details of the upcoming service such as price and launch date, he did address some of the intricacies of professional sports leagues such as Major Franchise League Baseball (MLB), which are allowed to negotiate movie rights while National Basketball The Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) only manage such negotiations at the league level.

Bally Sports Regional Networks

Sinclair acquired Fox Sports Networks from Disney through Diamond Sports, a joint venture with Entertainment Studios, but had to take 4.23 billion write-offs last year to complete the transaction.

The RSNs subsequently became part of an agreement between Sinclair and Bally's Corporation in which a gaming and entertainment group managed by the hedge fund Standard agreed to pay $ 85 million for the right to name RSN numbers for a period of 10 years.

In January Bally's announced that the RSN names will be renamed Bally Sports Regional Networks and will feature the new Bally Sports logo, which ended in March. But while regional networks ended 2020 with 52 million subscribers, another more than 15 million US pay homes were discovered due to the lack of MVPD distribution on Dish Network and virtual platforms Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV.

The TV Everywhere app

While Sinclair and its joint venture are handling an incomplete pay-TV distribution portfolio, Bally's successfully launched the TV Everywhere app under the Bally Sport brand. The easy transition by simply updating the existing Fox Sports Net app, which is now available on the phones of millions of subscribers, has contributed to the success of the TVE app.

“The transition from Fox Sports Go was a huge technical feat. Now it's about tweaking and enhancing features in the app. "

Chris Ripley, CEO, Sinclair Broadcast Group

In fact, the precursor to DTC, the TVE app will also allow Sinclair to take advantage of adjacent opportunities such as sports betting, in addition to increasing Bally Sports' distribution coverage. CEO Sinclair noted that the app will eventually become a fundamental space for the interaction and socialization of sports fans.

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