The sports channels still lack YouTube TV, Hulu, fuboTV carriage. Dish negotiations are expected in August.
Sinclair Broadcast Group, already the nation’s dominant owner of regional sports networks, has made an offer to acquire NBCUniversal’s seven regional sports networks. If Sinclair succeeds in buying the RSNs, it would add dozens of popular National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball teams to its already vast collection of sports broadcast rights. The deal would also give Sinclair an 8% stake in SportsNet New York, which broadcasts Mets games.
News this past week that Sinclair Broadcast Group and investment banker LionTree are raising $250 million to launch a sports streaming service may not be quite as big a deal as, say, that $43 billion spinoff/merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery. But despite the difference in the number of zeroes involved, a Sinclair streaming service could dramatically reshape the sports streaming leader board, and not incidentally, what’s left of the cable bundle and broadcast TV, too.
One month after the 2021 Major League Baseball regular season threw out its first pitch, virtual multichannel video programming distributors YouTube TV, Hulu Plus Live TV and Fubo TV are still without Sinclair Broadcast Group’s regional sports networks, now rebranded as Bally Sports Networks. Pricing appears to be the reason for the decision to do without the channels, and apparently there has been little movement on either side regarding negotiations.
The rebranding, which takes effect immediately, encompasses 42 NBC and Telemundo owned stations, seven regional sports networks and multicast networks.
Wells Fargo media analyst Steven Cahall told clients Tuesday that he believes Sinclair Broadcast Group’s regional sports networks could face a “tumultuous” period over the next few months, as uncertainty mounts concerning its upcoming carriage renewal with Dish Network and its ongoing battle with streamers YouTube TV and Hulu Live.
Major League Baseball is considering a rule change that cord cutters can cheer. After years of relying on traditional distribution of local games via cable and satellite (plus, to a limited extent, over-the-top streaming), MLB is now urging its regional sports networks to explore direct-to-customer possibilities for local fans.
Don Roberts, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s VP of sports engineering, is navigating a sports production landscape that has been profoundly changed by the COVID-19 pandemic while trying to make sure that Sinclair’s multi-billion-dollar bet on the former Fox RSNs pays off. He’s managing technical changes from the RSNs’ Bally rebrand and overseeing construction of a new origination facility in Atlanta, while meeting COVID protocols for three concurrent major-league sports for the RSNs and two professional tennis tours for Tennis Channel. Note: This story is available to TVNewsCheck Premium members only. If you would like to upgrade your free TVNewsCheck membership to Premium now, you can visit your Member Home Page, available when you log in at the very top right corner of the site or in the Stay Connected Box that appears in the right column of virtually every page on the site. If you don’t see Member Home, you will need to click Log In or Subscribe.
OTT streamers seem to be waiting until the last minute, or maybe not at all, to hammer out deals.
Executives from Fox Sports and CBS Sports are among those predicting a sports production future with dramatically reduced onsite staff, greater operational efficiencies and cost savings, though with a fallout of job losses for mobile production personnel.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is preparing to rebrand its regional Fox Sports networks in the U.S. under the banner of Bally Sports, taking the name of casino operator Bally’s Corp. as sports media continues to establish closer ties with the gambling industry. The TV-station giant has begun a marketing campaign promoting the role the regional television networks play in delivering fans live games and other sports content about their local teams and players.
Dish Network has notified subscribers that they’re going to lose more regional sports networks on April 1 when its deal to carry the NBC Regional Sports Networks expires. The timing is odd, coming days after Dish announced a deal with DraftKings, which wants viewers watching sports and betting on the outcomes. Under poker player and chairman Charlie Ergen, Dish has been folding its relationships with RSNs, which he had deemed offering too low a return for too high a price.
Acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel told a troubled senator that the FCC does not have the authority to get involved in the carriage dispute between a broadcaster and streaming service, in this case Disney’s Hulu Plus Live TV streaming service and Sinclair, over access to the latter’s regional sports networks. That came in a letter responding to Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who asked the FCC to help facilitate a resolution of the dispute “promptly and impartially.”
The Bally Sports regional logos will replace the existing Fox Sports regional logos when the networks officially rebrand in the coming months.
The president-GM of NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations’ WRC-WZDC Washington adds the company’s regional sports network there to her duties.
A federal judge partially accepts a complaint from Stan Kroenke’s Altitude Sports over a negotiating impasse with Comcast over a regional sports network.
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s regional sports business and its creditors are preparing for a possible restructuring of its roughly $8 billion debt load, a sign of the pressure on the sports industry from COVID-19, according to people familiar with the matter. Sinclair subsidiary Diamond Sports Group’s bondholders have hired legal and financial advisers as it deals with the dearth of live sports during the coronavirus pandemic and the loss of some carriage deals with pay TV distributors.
NEW YORK (AP) — YES Network broadcaster Jack Curry missed the New York Yankees’ postseason after contracting COVID-19. Curry tweeted a video on Sunday and said he had recovered and would have returned to work for the AL Championship Series starting Sunday had the Yankees advanced. Curry said he tested positive following the regular season, which […]
The Yankees RSN went dark on Sept. 1. Frontier is also at a carriage impasse with Fox Sports RSNs.
Sinclair Broadcast Group has promoted Phillip Gharabegian to deputy general counsel and SVP business affairs for the company’s regional sports networks (RSNs). In his new role, he will continue to be a key part of the company’s rights negotiations and will play a larger role in strategic rights initiatives for the RSNs. He will continue […]
KANSAS CITY, MO. (AP) — The Royals and Sinclair Broadcast Group have signed a multiyear agreement beginning with the current season to televise games on Fox Sports Kansas City. The number of years and financial terms were not disclosed Monday. The regional sports network is midway through its 13th season as the exclusive TV home of […]
Comcast Corp. intends to refund the programming fees its subscribers paid for regional sports networks in the second quarter, the Philadelphia cable giant said Wednesday. The rebates are likely to show up as credits on future bills, not dollars in someone’s wallet.