Via KK and The Athletic: examining Bally Sports’ broadcast model

Paul Kukla of Kukla’s Korner posted an article in which Streamable’s Michael King revealed that Bally Sports has to renew its rights to broadcast NHL and NBA games…

Sinclair President and CEO Chris Ripley said during the company’s 2Q 2021 Earnings Call on Wednesday that the company remains committed to launching a direct-to-consumer Bally Sports App in the first half of 2022, but they have another streaming deal to worry about.

Ripley said streaming rights for the NBA and NHL on the Bally RSNs were up for renewal in the coming months. These are to continue offering TV Everywhere access via the Bally Sports App.

Despite this, he was confident of Sinclair’s position, pointing out that they are the only bidder in place for the digital rights for the two leagues.

“You know we are the only buyer for those, you know, there is no one else they can be sold to,” Ripley said. “So, we have a relatively good position.”

And The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan revealed that Bally Sports plans on advertising in-game sports betting via its Bally Sports App within the next year or two:

Could some NBA, NHL and MLB games next year be served up akin to a Las Vegas sportsbook screen, with changing odds and heavy gamblers comped the subscription to the service?

That is the vision at least outlined Wednesday by Chris Ripley, CEO of Sinclair Broadcast Group, whose Bally Sports Regional Networks are negotiating with those leagues to obtain streaming rights for a planned direct-to-consumer (DTC) launch next year. Ripley told investors on an earnings call Wednesday morning the service would be “like in-game betting but on steroids.” Sinclair’s RSNs currently broadcast 42 teams: 14 in MLB, 16 in the NBA and 12 NHL teams.

“For a person who is heavily engaged in sports betting, I envision a significant amount of income coming from watch-and-play, which is the gamification, real-time gamification of a sporting event, where they can play it like a video game,” Ripley said. “They can be having at risk at … money on the line, positions that are changing … every 10 to 20 seconds, based on their actions.

“And, actually, the first we’re working on that experience with Ballys, first up in tennis, tennis, you know, is … set up very, very well to do that. But we’re going to move that same philosophy through MLB, NBA, NHL too, and … we think that ends up being a very significant revenue driver, not only for this enterprise, but we also see a world that you alluded to where people engaged in that type of activity will get subsidized or comped subscriptions from the sportsbooks.”

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.