Sinclair’s sports network unit, Diamond Sports Group, the subsidiary which technically owns Bally Sports RSNs, is close to securing a deal to stream NBA games, according to a report by Bloomberg. The subsidiary is expected to secure $600M in funding to support the long-awaited streaming app, which is expected to launch in the first half of 2022.
Details about the NBA deal and the RSNs streaming future are expected to be announced this week, per the Bloomberg report:
“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.”
Sinclair currently has the in-market broadcast rights for 16 NBA teams: Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, LA Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, and San Antonio Spurs. It’s presumed that the new deal would include their streaming/digital rights.
Of the 16 teams listed, the Dallas Mavericks gave fans a creative option to stream games on Bally Sports Southwest. Owner Mark Cuban personally gave fans a $50 monthly discount, so they could watch games on DIRECTV STREAM.
Although representatives for Sinclair and Diamond declined to comment on the Bloomberg, story, Sinclar CEO Chris Ripley made headlines back in November after saying the company had enough content to launch their DTC streaming app. Ripley made those comments before the MLB lockout, and at the time, he said his company was in ‘active and ongoing negotiation,” with the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association for streaming rights. Sinclair’s NBA streaming rights had then expired and they only had streaming right for 4 MLB teams.
The company’s negotiations have turned into agreements on some fronts. Sinclair secured a multi-year deal with the NHL, which will offer “streaming content, including live games, on an authenticated and direct-to-consumer (DTC) basis, to the local territories of 12 NHL teams.” In late 2021, the company announced that they had reached agreements with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Red Wings, and Detroit Tigers.
With the MLB lockout ongoing, and talks of the league wanting a stake in the Bally Sports streaming app, cord cutters will have to wait and see if the RSNs can hit a triple by securing its third league before its expected launch in the first half of 2022 at its rumored price point of $23/mo.