Sinclair(Bally's Sport) nearing a deal for NBA streaming rights for direct to consumer offering

Iceland12

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This is why Sinclair/Bally's is pulling out of most online deals. It would include the Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Sinclair’s plans for a direct to consumer streaming app continue to trudge along. On Friday, Bloomberg reported that the company was nearing a deal with the NBA for streaming rights for the 16 teams whose games air on Sinclair’s RSNs. Additionally, Sinclair had secured $600 million in funding (via “a new super-priority first-lien loan from an existing group of secured creditors”) to launch the app. Over the summer, it was reported they were working to raise $250 million in funding.

Last month, Sinclair struck a deal for the digital rights to the 12 NHL teams whose games air on Sinclair’s RSNs. In November, it was widely reported that Sinclair only had the digital rights to four MLB teams (presumably, the Tigers, Royals, Marlins, and Brewers) of the 14 whose games air on Sinclair RSNs, with MLB having no desire to give Sinclair a break on the remaining rights.


Here's the Bloomberg Story. Link is in the above story.

The new loan for Diamond Sports Group’s venture could be announced along with local NBA streaming rights as soon as next week, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Diamond expects to roll out the offering in the first half of 2022, which will expand on its existing streaming service for regional TV subscribers, according to one of the people. They asked not to be identified discussing confidential negotiations.

The NBA deal will give Diamond regional digital rights to the basketball league in addition to the broadcast rights that the largest U.S. regional sports network operator already owns, according to one person. The streaming app will be financed with a new super-priority first-lien loan from an existing group of secured creditors..

The launch could help Diamond break a slump in viewership and generate earnings to help manage the massive debts that stem from its 2019 sale to Sinclair. The sports network and Sinclair have been in talks with creditors for months over ways to manage its $8.1 billion burden and support the development of the consumer app, which is key to its future as the traditional TV audience erodes.

The debt has no immediate maturities looming, but it has traded at distressed levels while Diamond negotiated to secure streaming rights to various sports amid speculation that Major League Baseball would launch its own competing service. Creditors had previously sought a stake in the new consumer platform if it was created outside of the TV sports subsidiary that backs their investment..

One remaining sticking point for the secured creditors had been two management services agreements that require Diamond to hand its parent tens of millions of dollars in annual cash payments. That was resolved through a reduction in the fee, the people said..

Per Bloomberg, Sinclair is aiming to launch its direct to consumer service sometime in the first half of 2022. However, if it takes longer to get off the ground, I don’t think it would be that huge of a deal: the NBA and NHL regular seasons are scheduled to end in April, while the MLB season is scheduled to begin the same month. But with the rights to only four MLB teams acquired, it wouldn’t be the biggest blow if the service wasn’t ready for the scheduled Opening Day..
 

RememberMurray

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Our future: constantly having to switch from one fly-by-night service provider to the next, in order to be able to stream/watch "our" teams.

Between this nonsense and the constant, unending commercials, the major sports industry is risking killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. It's greed run amok.

Signed,
Grumpy Old Fart
 


Iceland12

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Our future: constantly having to switch from one fly-by-night service provider to the next, in order to be able to stream/watch "our" teams.

Between this nonsense and the constant, unending commercials, the major sports industry is risking killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. It's greed run amok.

Signed,
Grumpy Old Fart

Agree with most of that. Just that it's generally not the leagues that are behind this. With contracts still in place the leagues can't pull out yet. The NBA, NHL and MLB have been quite vocal about their anger in their games not being seen by their fans. Maybe they'll try to go direct to consumer too, but the network money and audience is pretty damn huge.

This is all about a power play, first by Disney, then by Sinclair/Bally's. They WAY overestimated what the satellite, cable and online providers would pay for their product. Now they are all in on gambling saving them.

As the red ink continues to flow.
 
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ecoperson

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I apologize for my comment on this subject in a non-political thread. Deleted.
 
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short ornery norwegian

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(disclaimer - I still have Bally's on my municipal cable TV system)

this is going to wind up as a "worst possible case" scenario for most MN sports fans.

if you don't get Bally's on cable or satellite, it sounds like your only option to watch the Wolves or the Wild will be to sign up for Bally's streaming service.

And that still does nothing for Twins fans, until or unless MLB offers their own streaming package.

of course, it depends on the cost of each service.

If I had to rank in order of my personal preference, it would be Twins 1st, probably the Wild 2nd and Wolves 3rd. And that does not include the Loons, who might be my #2 option.

I am not going to sign up for 5 or 6 different streaming services - I just can't afford it. If I had to choose one, it would be the Twins.
 

forever a gopher

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So they’re $8.1 billion in the hole, and the answer to getting out of said hole? Borrowing $600 million more to develop an app. You can’t make it up.
 

Ogee Oglethorpe

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Sinclair is well known for politicizing news across all of their affiliates. Learn more about their integrity below from less in depth to more in depth depending on your time.

Deadspin
NYT Editorial
Last Week Tonight
So your rebuttal to stating Sinclair's politicizing of news is to link propaganda from three horrendously biased and slanted outlets? Makes sense, I guess?
 

Full Speed Ahead

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It's easy to see in this thread who is a fan of sports vs politics...
... I'm all for any channel that wants to let me watch sports. Sure it'll cost me a bit, I'm okay with that as if I don't like what they're streaming, I can cancel the subscription.
So your rebuttal to stating Sinclair's politicizing of news is to link propaganda from three horrendously biased and slanted outlets? Makes sense, I guess?
 
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Wally

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Why don't the teams sell streaming direct?

F Sinclair and their bs.
I would pay pay the Wild to stream on their own channel but I won't pay Sinclair.
 

short ornery norwegian

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Ultimately, I could see something where the Pro leagues offer a streaming package with no local blackouts.

You can get a baseball streaming package now, but if you live in the Twins' market area, the Twins games are blacked out.

if the RSN's go away, rather than have to get a streaming package through Bally's, the pro leagues should just cut out the middle-man and figure out a way to monetize their own streaming.
 

Iceland12

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Why don't the teams sell streaming direct?

F Sinclair and their bs.
I would pay pay the Wild to stream on their own channel but I won't pay Sinclair.

From what I remember, individual teams gave up that right so they could get an equal share of the National Contracts the leagues were signing.

That's why the "Super Stations" TBS, WGN, KTLA, the ones out of Denver and Boston etc. stopped showing their local teams games nationwide on cable and satellite. The teams started pulling them rights from them. At least National rights.

If you liked baseball, basketball and hockey it was great. Everyday you'd have a lot of choices on what games you could watch. All without paying for a bunch of different league packages.

Think it stopped 2-3 years on either side of 2000.
 
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Ogee Oglethorpe

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I apologize for my comment on this subject in a non-political thread. Deleted.
Duly noted. I don't know much about Sinclair, admittedly, but we are definitely getting into uncharted waters here when it comes to how people consume their sports. People have a lot of options available to them and I would imagine a lot of those are tenuous relationships at best. I know an a la carte way to go would make a lot of people happy, no doubt about it.

I think ultimately, a lot of these pissing contests between providers are going to result in a reduced number of fans consuming games. Hard to see it going any other way.
 

Iceland12

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Duly noted. I don't know much about Sinclair, admittedly, but we are definitely getting into uncharted waters here when it comes to how people consume their sports. People have a lot of options available to them and I would imagine a lot of those are tenuous relationships at best. I know an a la carte way to go would make a lot of people happy, no doubt about it.

I think ultimately, a lot of these pissing contests between providers are going to result in a reduced number of fans consuming games. Hard to see it going any other way.

Yep. Main problem is, even with all the different ways to get sports delivered, the options are going down. Not because of service providers, but of content providers.

Sports content providers have decided they aren't gonna sell their product to some service providers. Many of those providers no longer want to pay for every subscriber they have. They want to only charge people who want to see the sport! Content providers want to keep getting paid for everybody on the system, they've asked for price increases too!

As for the a la carte system?

Charlie Ergun at Dish has lobbied for that for years. DirecTV has joined him on that now too.

Who's fighting it? Local governments who want X numbers of channels for "public use" and content providers. Content providers who want to bundle channels that people want with channels they own that people don't want.

And they want to get paid the same for all of them.

So Good Morning!
 

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Ala carte will never be a thing, for live TV.

Too much money is made by bundling. You force people to pay for channels they rarely or ever use, you get more money.

Cable/Sat companies could've offered ala carte channels decades ago. No one wanted to provide it.


Channels don't want it either! Think about it. It helps smooth things out and make things more predictable, if you can prevent customers hopping around, picking different channels, etc. all the time.

A channel can say "we want $X per customer on your basic bundle", and they get that much, per subscriber, regardless how many subscribers ever actually tune that channel in or not.


That said, other than sports and news ... what really needs to be live?

All the rest of the channels are really just curated scripts of shows that don't necessary need to be on such a platform, and might do just as well only on on-demand platforms.


Will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.
 

Gophers_4life

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^^^ so what I'm saying is: let Bally's try.

I think they're going to be sorely disappointed in the "direct to consumer" option, unless the price is really low, but I don't think they're going to be able to provide it that cheap.


Why would someone pay even $25/mo just for the Bally's channel, when they can pay $65/mo for a whole bundle of channels that includes Bally's?

Obviously now, that has to be a bundle on traditional Cable or Sat, not something like YouTube TV or Hulu Live since that is considered streaming.


But what if Comcast and Charter want to start offering people who, let's say have their service for cable modem, with an option for "cable without the cable box". Does that still count as streaming? Or is that cable?

I wonder if a fight like that is coming up, with big Cable Cos. and the government fighting to redefine what these things even mean, vis-a-vis what "digital rights" gets you exclusivity to.
 

Iceland12

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Ala carte will never be a thing, for live TV.

Too much money is made by bundling. You force people to pay for channels they rarely or ever use, you get more money.

Cable/Sat companies could've offered ala carte channels decades ago. No one wanted to provide it.

Charlie Ergun of Dish has been lobbying for à la carte pricing, and what they could and couldn't offer for years now. Going back to 1999. They've even offered a mini-version of an ala carte pricing system. Hardly anybody is aware of that. Why should they be? They just assume that all the service providers want to keep things as they are. They don't. It's local governments and content providers who want to keep the present system.

Here's from an interview from 9 years ago.

Today, customers have some choices, but channels are exactly the same on each one. We try to make our user interface a little better, and we believe that in most cases, it's better for the consumer to pay for the content one time, and then watch that content wherever they are -- we don't want them to pay extra for new devices. That, in turn, makes the content more valuable. Ultimately, you need a wireless network outside of the home to achieve that, and we'd like to own a wireless network so that we could ensure quality."

"We're still for a la carte, because the internet is a la carte today and we know we have to compete there. It's going to go there slowly, would be my guess. Having said that, we can't change it (when looking at channel bundles). It's pretty easy to steal on the internet. I remember being in India watching a movie before it even came out in America -- I was just testing it, you know. [Chuckles.]"

Kafka then asked about the potential for these bundle deals "breaking," to which Ergen suggested that pay-TV carriers may very well "sow the seeds of our own destruction" while a player like YouTube or Amazon breaks it down and gives consumers more of what they truly want, and less of what they don't." He even confessed that he loved Netflix's House of Cards, and that he only wishes he would've thought of it first.

"There's a reason why tobacco companies give away free cigarettes on college campuses," Ergen said. "We need to hook people on pay-TV while they're young. [Chuckles.] As a company, we're hobbyists. We hope we make money, and historically we have. If we make good products, we'll make money. We're not afraid of change. When you run a business, you can fight change or embrace it -- long-term, it's less risky to embrace it. You can lead it and make the rules (or be a fast follower), or be a slow follower and pay more later." Kafka followed up with a question of "when" Dish noticed that it'd need to make a change. Ergen said that five years ago, he noticed that monopoly broadcasting would get pay-TV carriers to over $100 per month, and in turn, change would come. From there, he realized he needed to get into the wireless business, in order to "take care of customers inside and outside of the house."
 
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Gophers_4life

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On the other hand, I guess the whole thing from the beginning with Bally's is that they're almost treating the live sports like a loss-leader into getting people to bet on the games.

So that is a different aspect to it. If they think they can take a smallish hit on providing the games, but make that up and then some on getting people watching the game to bet on them, well maybe that does work.

We will see, obviously.
 

howeda7

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On the other hand, I guess the whole thing from the beginning with Bally's is that they're almost treating the live sports like a loss-leader into getting people to bet on the games.

So that is a different aspect to it. If they think they can take a smallish hit on providing the games, but make that up and then some on getting people watching the game to bet on them, well maybe that does work.

We will see, obviously.
Bally's is not directly affiliated with Sinclaire, they just bought the naming rights. And there are a dozen legal (and not) places you can bet while watching the game. There's no reason you are going to rush to do so with Bally's in particular.
 

Gophers_4life

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Charlie Ergun of Dish has been lobbying for à la carte pricing, and what they could and couldn't offer for years now. Going back to 1999. They've even offered a mini-version of an ala carte pricing system. Hardly anybody is aware of that. Why should they be? They just assume that all the service providers want to keep things as they are. They don't. It's local governments and content providers who wat to keep the present system.

Here's from an interview from 9 years ago.

Today, customers have some choices, but channels are exactly the same on each one. We try to make our user interface a little better, and we believe that in most cases, it's better for the consumer to pay for the content one time, and then watch that content wherever they are -- we don't want them to pay extra for new devices. That, in turn, makes the content more valuable. Ultimately, you need a wireless network outside of the home to achieve that, and we'd like to own a wireless network so that we could ensure quality."

"We're still for a la carte, because the internet is a la carte today and we know we have to compete there. It's going to go there slowly, would be my guess. Having said that, we can't change it (when looking at channel bundles). It's pretty easy to steal on the internet. I remember being in India watching a movie before it even came out in America -- I was just testing it, you know. [Chuckles.]"

Kafka then asked about the potential for these bundle deals "breaking," to which Ergen suggested that pay-TV carriers may very well "sow the seeds of our own destruction" while a player like YouTube or Amazon breaks it down and gives consumers more of what they truly want, and less of what they don't." He even confessed that he loved Netflix's House of Cards, and that he only wishes he would've thought of it first.

"There's a reason why tobacco companies give away free cigarettes on college campuses," Ergen said. "We need to hook people on pay-TV while they're young. [Chuckles.] As a company, we're hobbyists. We hope we make money, and historically we have. If we make good products, we'll make money. We're not afraid of change. When you run a business, you can fight change or embrace it -- long-term, it's less risky to embrace it. You can lead it and make the rules (or be a fast follower), or be a slow follower and pay more later." Kafka followed up with a question of "when" Dish noticed that it'd need to make a change. Ergen said that five years ago, he noticed that monopoly broadcasting would get pay-TV carriers to over $100 per month, and in turn, change would come. From there, he realized he needed to get into the wireless business, in order to "take care of customers inside and outside of the house."
Thanks for this.

OK, I was wrong about Cable and Sat companies with regards to ala carte.


But like I was saying, the channels want to be able to demand and get $X per subscriber to some tier/bundle, regardless how many of those subscribers to that tier/bundle of channels ever even tune that channel in.


That is the way it is rigged up, because it makes people more money. I'd be surprised if the Cable and Sat companies haven't also benefited from it, even if they would rather get more total customers because they could offer custom channel packages.


With Cable and Sat, I feel like a big chunk of their profits were from renting out the boxes to people. That seems to really be going away now, though with Cable there is still the modem.
 

Gophers_4life

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Bally's is not directly affiliated with Sinclaire, they just bought the naming rights. And there are a dozen legal (and not) places you can bet while watching the game. There's no reason you are going to rush to do so with Bally's in particular.
I agree with you, generally.

Maybe they'll make it really easy to do it in-app, while you're still watching? Or offer exclusive (prop) bets? They'll have something up their sleeve, because they clearly know what you're saying is true.

But I'm certain that is going to be the angle. Regardless if it's Sinclair behind it all, and Bally's is just the brand on it, I think they're trying for it to be about sports gambling as the money maker.
 

howeda7

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I agree with you, generally.

Maybe they'll make it really easy to do it in-app, while you're still watching? Or offer exclusive (prop) bets? They'll have something up their sleeve, because they clearly know what you're saying is true.

But I'm certain that is going to be the angle. Regardless if it's Sinclair behind it all, and Bally's is just the brand on it, I think they're trying for it to be about sports gambling as the money maker.
They will certainly do that, but how many people are SO into gambling that they're going to gamble on whether Taylor Rogers strikes the next hitter out? A very small % of viewers. And the rest will be annoyed if Dick Bremer spends the entire game talking about the next prop bet.
 

short ornery norwegian

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It all comes down to money and choice.

Let's say you're a Twins fan. IF your only choices to watch the Twins are a satellite/cable/or streaming package for $100 a month - or a stand-alone Bally's Streaming service for $25 a month - what do you do?

the people who dropped cable TV because "it's too expensive" will soon be paying almost as much for streaming services.
 

Gophers_4life

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It all comes down to money and choice.

Let's say you're a Twins fan. IF your only choices to watch the Twins are a satellite/cable/or streaming package for $100 a month - or a stand-alone Bally's Streaming service for $25 a month - what do you do?

the people who dropped cable TV because "it's too expensive" will soon be paying almost as much for streaming services.
In turn, it all depends on which channels you actually watched on Cable/Sat.

If you only watched a specific subset, maybe you'd save some money.


But yeah, if you need Discovery+, Paramount+, Disney+, HBO Max ... then Bally's for Twins, then you need ESPN for general sports and a Fox package to get FS1+Big Ten (the regular channel is not included in BTN+) ... I mean damn, you're right back to where you began. And then locals, you can get with an antenna but what about DVR'ing their programs?

Nevermind that there is a bunch of content special to some on-demand platforms like AppleTV, Netflix, Hulu, that aren't even available on Cable/Sat in the first place.
 

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DirecTV and Dish Network again talking merger; can they beat antitrust issues?​


DirecTV and Dish Network have been down the merger road before, multiple times.

In every past instance, potential antitrust issues have torpedoed the deal. Now, with DirecTV once again its own entity having been spun off from AT&T, both companies are reportedly trying again to complete a move that Dish Network chief Charlie Ergen once described as “inevitable.”

That’s according to this report from Lydia Moynihan and Josh Kosman in the New York Post:

DirecTV and Dish Network are in fresh talks to merge after years of on-again, off-again wrangling and multiple clampdowns from federal antitrust officials, The Post has learned.

The satellite-TV giants attempted a merger nearly two decades ago but the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department’s antitrust division stopped it. Two years ago, the DOJ also quietly warned executives off a prospective deal, concerned about the nascent rollout of 5G, sources said.

Now, however, insiders are optimistic a Dish-DirecTV deal could pass regulatory muster as concerns about the market power of the struggling companies have waned, sources said. Some executives likewise argue that a merger could give a surprise boost to the US’s troubled rollout of 5G wireless services.
Considering the recent aggressive antitrust stance taken by the federal government, it might seem like the current environment is the worst possible time for the two companies to finally try and make this happen. Ironically, though, things have gotten bad enough in terms of subscriber losses for both services that any potential deal might actually receive support from the government rather than roadblocks. Combined with recent legislation that should improve rural broadband access in the United States, this could be the right time for both companies to try.

DirecTV currently has just over 15 million customers, down from more than 25 million subscribers in 2017, according to company filings. Dish has 8.4 million subscribers, down from more than 13 million.

The broadband issue is key because in many rural areas, Americans couldn’t reasonably expect to go with a streaming television package. Hulu or YouTube TV still aren’t options for large swaths of the country from an infrastructure perspective, and the DOJ’s stance was that a satellite merger could threaten competitive balance for too many people who didn’t have other options. Now, with more access on the way, it’s possible that a merger will be seen as preserving competition rather than eliminating it, which is quite a twist:

“The FCC and DOJ would likely both conclude that having one strong satellite competitor is better than none at all — and the future is not terribly bright even together but especially alone,” telecom analyst Craig Moffett told The Post.

DirecTV officially being separate from AT&T again probably helps this case too. There are obviously still hurdles; the Post report mentions that Ergen is holding out for a big seat at the table at any newly combined company, for one thing. And even with a newly compelling case, there’s still the chance the federal position is unchanged, or that the FCC and DOJ make a few demands along the way.


But at this point, the merger feels not just inevitable, but imminent.

 


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I guess I don't really see the difference when every city is allowed to enter into an exclusive (monopoly) agreement with a particular cable company to be the sole provider of cable TV to every residence in the city.

If rural folks can only get Sat TV from one company, seems like the same thing.
 

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I guess I don't really see the difference when every city is allowed to enter into an exclusive (monopoly) agreement with a particular cable company to be the sole provider of cable TV to every residence in the city.

If rural folks can only get Sat TV from one company, seems like the same thing.
Not exactly. It was a tradeoff.

The cable companies got the municipal monopolies if they agreed to build their networks for the entire cities, not just some neighborhoods. The monopoly helped them offset the cost to build the infrastructure.

All you need for a satellite subscription is a dish on your house pointed at the sky with some wires to your house. There's no infrastructure costs to build out a network.
 

howeda7

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I guess I don't really see the difference when every city is allowed to enter into an exclusive (monopoly) agreement with a particular cable company to be the sole provider of cable TV to every residence in the city.

If rural folks can only get Sat TV from one company, seems like the same thing.
Because people in the city who don't like the local cable company can go to...DirecTV or Dishnetwork. There's no monopoly there.

Currently, if you don't have cable access or broadband internet, your only options are DirecTV or Dish Network. Allowing them to merge leaves you with literally only one choice.
 




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