Recently regional sports networks have been struggling. Sicnlair’s Bally Sports will soon declare bankruptcy, according to multiple reports. AT&T SportsNets will be shutting down by the end of March. Now the Chicago Cubs and Marquee Sports Network RSN, a joint partnership between the Cubs and Sinclair, are looking to offer direct-to-consumer streaming this season, according to 670 The Score.
This all comes as it has become increasingly difficult for sports fans to watch RSNs. Most streaming services do not carry them, and even DISH has dropped them. When DISH dropped most RSNs, they listed the high cost and low viewership. This has forced a growing number of RSNs into financial trouble and plans to offer direct-to-consumer options.
Now the Chicago Cubs have confirmed that they plan to offer an in-market streaming option as soon as the opening day of the 2023 season.
“We’re still looking at that,” chairman Tom Ricketts told reporters at the Cubs’ spring training camp. “And I think the most important thing with our direct-to-consumer is we just want to do it right the first time. We want to make sure when we do have it out there, it’s a good value to the fans. We realize that the way people consume the game is changing. We want to make sure we accommodate that. But it’s kind of like a measure-twice-cut-once thing for us. We want to make sure we do it right, and that may mean it’s not 100% ready to go for Opening Day. But we’ll see where it goes.”
At this time, this is all we know, but Sinclairs’ in-market streaming plan for their Bally Sports networks costs about $20 a month less if you prepay for a year. It is expected that this service will come in around that number or less.
By the end of 2023, most major RSNs, including MSG, Bally Sports, and Yes Network, will all offer options to stream games in-market. It is also expected that AT&T SportsNets will offer an in-market streaming option after teams take back rights by the end of March 2023.
The real question now is will the bankruptcy of Sinclair-owned Bally Sports affects Marquee Sports Network in any way.