Cord cutting continues to make headlines as more people opt out of expensive packages in lieu of more budget-friendly streaming subscriptions. As a result, pay television channels must adapt or be left in the digital dust.
Once seen as the last hope for traditional linear television, live sports has increasingly moved to streaming platforms. A number of streaming services have struck deals with broadcast television providers to offer live game coverage as part of their members-only perks.
Bally Sports+ launched late last year and offers direct-to-consumer streaming packages starting at $19.99 a month. However, The Hollywood Reporter states the sports streaming service only has 203,000 subscribers.
The low numbers could signal the end of Bally Sports in the near future.
Bally Sports operates under the Diamond Sports Group, which expanded to include streaming as a way to increase revenue as big networks started to lose their grip on the highly profitable live sports content niche.
However, due to recent issues between the Diamond Sports Group and leagues, the numbers don’t look good for Bally Sports. In March, Diamond Sports Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after missing a $140 million interest payment on debts totaling $8 billion. The company has been struggling to keep its head above water ever since. It’s also in the middle of a proceeding that would separate itself from parent Sinclair.
By May, Bally Sports had lost the TV rights to its first MLB team after letting the deadline to renew contracts expire and failed to pay the San Diego Padres’ rights fees. Bally Sports has since lost the linear TV rights to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Bally Sports was not immediately available for comment.
Currently, it manages TV rights for 40 professional teams, including 12 MLB teams, 16 NBA teams, and 12 NHL teams.
Bally Sports is far from the only streaming service offering live game coverage. Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, and Apple TV are also staking their claim in the live sports streaming world. Bally Sports would have to keep up with these big-name streaming services, which offer much more than sports-specific content, and generate most of their revenue from far more lucrative sources. This will be a tall order as Bally Sports works through bankruptcy filings as well as attempts to retain its current – and dwindling – league contracts.