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Sinclair Newsbeat

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Sinclair Owes $1.82 Billion in RSN Fees Amid Tough Ad Market

If getting dumped by the virtual MVPDs has taken a bite out of Bally Sports’ reach, the ongoing Dish stalemate is costlier still. The satellite TV service closed out 2020 with 8.82 million video subscribers, and its Sling TV added another 2.47 million households to the pile. On Opening Day of the 2021 MLB season, some 11.3 million U.S. homes were unable to access the Sinclair RSNs. (Not that Bally Sports is alone in feeling the chill from Dish, as the operator has also failed to reach a carriage deal with the NBC Sports RSNs and MASN, the home network of the Orioles and Nationals.)

Even some elite, team-owned RSNs are now struggling to keep the faith. “I used to say that the RSN model is good for five to 10 years, but I have to modify that,” said one sports net programming chief. “COVID will have a more lasting impact on sports than perhaps we’d anticipated. The RSNs are not in a great spot right now—along with the battle with distributors, the advertisers are not clamoring back.”

The prognosis is grim. “The impact of the last 14 months has been profound, but let’s face it, the next six to 12 months may be too much to come back from.” When asked if there’s any lifeline to grasp, the network exec said, “Gambling can’t happen soon enough.”

Obviously, the fact that a major casino group forked over $85 million for the right to rebrand the Sinclair RSNs in its own image suggests the emerging sports-betting market may not be a long shot. But will the opportunity be sufficiently lucrative to offset the loss of so much affiliate revenue?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 28, 2021 at 04:36 PM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: regional sports networks, sinclair, television

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Sinclair readies new sports video app, pushes on gamification

Sinclair Broadcast Group is nearing completion on a reconstructed new mobile application that will support its sports streaming efforts, particularly those from its portfolio of 21 regional sports networks, and broader gamification strategy, representing a key effort in the company’s stated goal to “make watching sports similar to playing a video game.”

The new streaming app, to replace the existing Fox Sports Go, will carry new Bally’s branding as part of Sinclair’s large-scale naming rights deal with the gaming operator for the RSNs that is reportedly worth $85m. The app is set to debut around the start of the Major League Baseball season in April.

More broadly, the new digital product will also represent a key touchpoint in Sinclair’s aggressive corporate strategy to infuse much more gamification and sports betting content into the overall sports viewing experience, in part through the Bally’s deal. Sinclair president Chris Ripley called the app no less than a “new paradigm for how viewers can watch and interact with major local sporting events.”

“The app will provide significant enhanced functionality and a new design that will be a key enabler for our initiatives around the gamification of sports viewing,” Ripley said. “Just to give you an idea of the improvement of the new app and its increased capabilities, when we initially launch, the first phase of the app will allow authenticated users the ability to watch games, with features like being able to rewind and view a replay, easily search for enhanced statistics and programming, including all the content that airs on our FSNS, as well as enjoy increased news coverage about the teams and games.

“Importantly, the new app will allow us to better monetize hundreds of millions of digital impressions that are currently not being fully optimized on the existing Fox Sports Go app. We expect the new app will be an important component in helping drive increased revenue growth and profitability for our local sports business in the future,” he said.

The app will also include a series of free-to-play contests, rewards, and features to engage with other fans.

“The idea is to make watching sports similar to playing a video game,” Ripley said.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 24, 2021 at 10:11 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: sinclair, television rights

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Sinclair could reportedly sell naming rights to the Fox Sports RSNs to a sports betting company

Sinclair has owned the Fox Sports RSNs for a good year-plus now, and they still haven’t been rebranded (I’m very sick of typing “the Sinclair-owned Fox RSNs,” but here we are). One option for the rebrand could be the sale of naming rights, as if the networks are a bowl game or an arena.

Per Sportico, Sinclair has talked with sports betting companies about the naming rights for the networks, either as a group or on a network by network basis.

Sinclair has discussed the naming rights with potential sports betting partners, according to the people, who were granted anonymity because the talks are private. The conversations have started with rights to all 21 networks as a group, but Sinclair could also decide to sell the rights piecemeal, the people said.

Here’s the main stumbling block here: MLB, the NBA, and the NHL would reportedly all need to approve the rebrand if it includes naming rights. That would seemingly be a major issue if a sports betting company is involved, given the various partnerships between gambling companies, the leagues, and the teams.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 18, 2020 at 09:31 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: gambling, regional sports networks, sinclair

 

 

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