TV Answer Man, I have YouTube TV so we don’t have the Bally Sports channel for our brewers (Milwaukee). Do you know when the cable cutter app will be available and how much it will cost? — Justin, Madison, Wis.
Sinclair CEO Justin Ripley said in February that his company would launch a Bally Sports streaming app for cord cutters in the second quarter of this year. The executive said the initial launch will include at least five Major League Baseball teams (Sinclair now has digital rights deals with the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays) with NHL and NBA teams added in the second half of the year.
The app will allow fans to watch their Bally Sports team on the market, such as the Brewers on Bally Sports Wisconsin, without a subscription to a pay-TV service. They would subscribe directly to Bally Sports.
Sinclair hopes to have more MLB teams available on the app at launch.
However, the Kansas City Star recently published comments from Kansas City Royals CEO John Sherman who suggest the launch of Bally Sports is not imminent despite the second quarter starting on April 1. The newspaper cites a source as saying he won’t be ready until the summer which technically starts in the second quarter, albeit late in the quarter.
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Along with the uncertainty over the app’s launch time comes a bigger question mark over its price. Sinclair has not publicly announced the cost of a team subscription in the market. (You’ll only be able to get your Bally Sports team from the market on the app.) That left it up to reporters to offer some possibilities, based on anonymous sources and financial analysis.
The New York Post reported in June 2021 that Sinclair planned to charge $23 per month for the app. Sinclair was quick to deny that report, but Sports Business Journal recently announced its own prediction that the cost would be north of $20.
This may seem excessive. But consider that DIRECTV Stream, the live streaming service that features Bally Sports, charges at least $20 more per month for any package that includes it. (The Stream’s Choice package, which includes Bally Sports channels and other regional sports networks, costs $89.99 per month, compared to the basic Entertainment package of $69.99 per month, which does not include Bally channels. Sports.)
This should give you an idea of the economics involved in setting the price. Sinclair has to pay a significant amount of money for the rights to the teams’ games and he has to offset that cost in part through the cost of the subscription. (The company also sells in-game advertising.)
So, Justin, chances are the price will be between $18 and $23 when the app launches.
I hope this can help. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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