- June 25, 2021
- Posted by: Dave DeJonge
- Category: Streaming Services
At the end of the last regular baseball season, FOX Sports Detroit was removed from YouTube TV. Since then, the group of sports channels owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group has gotten a new name — Bally Sports — and was dropped from other streaming services.
In West Michigan, that means if you want to watch Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, or Detroit Pistons, your only streaming TV option was the disappearing AT&T Now at $89/month. Or, you could sign up with traditional cable TV like Xfinity or U-Verse.
The rumor on the street was that Sinclair was creating a direct-to-consumer streaming service. Basically, another TV subscription.
That rumor seems to be true and Sinclair hopes to have the service available to consumers reportedly at $23 a month. No word if this month-to-month or a year-long subscription.
However, this isn’t a done deal. Last year Sinclair made $2.56 billion from its group of sports channels — nearly all of that in retransmission fees from cable and satellite companies. If Sinclair rolls out the $23 per month app, it risks losing a very large chunk of its retransmission fees when the cable and satellite partners drop the stations from their line-ups — a very likely scenario. Perhaps all of it would disappear when the upset partners end the contract due to Sinclair doing an end-run on their business.
Sinclair, in a filing with the SEC, predicts it will sign up 4.4 million subscribers and earn $2 billion in revenue. It’s an ambitious plan, and one that would be a wake-up call to all of the streaming sports.
For comparison’s sake, the MLB.TV app is a good choice. While it still does not allow you to view in-market games (like the Tigers in Michigan), it gives you access to out-of-market games — basically all other games other than your hometown team. (This crazy setup is worth another long post!)
The regular cost of MLB.TV to see all the games (except your local games) is $130 for the entire season or $25 a month.
So for those people who are interested in just their local team, the Bally Sport price seems to be in the right ballpark.