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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Media Orgs & Sports Business Execs Turn To Streaming In the Face of Floundering RSNs

What was once the most profitable collection of networks around, regional sports networks (RSNs) are floundering — and are turning to streaming to help stop the fall.

A new report by the Sports Business Journal revealed that over a dozen high-ranking sports business executives are concerned with the future of RSNs and are working with leagues, teams, and cable distributors to help find a new way to broadcast games. “The house is on fire here,” one network executive said to SBJ, referring to the RSN business. But why? It’s twofold — growing streaming services and a lack of pay-TV subscriptions.

Regional sports networks make their money from cable operators who shell out big bucks to keep sports networks happy, as live sports is one of the last bastions of consistently strong TV ratings, which in turn makes it prime time for advertisers looking to buy up ad time. RSNs almost always deal with some kind of blackout or cable standoff as they look to grab more money from cable operators, who in turn charge their customers more to make up for the increased revenue or have to include the RSNs in a separate, costlier subscription tier. Usually, these premium tiers have fewer subscribers than others due to cost, which doesn’t help the RSNs either.

Then there’s Sinclair, the broadcast company that owns the largest assortment of RSNs that are now branded with the Bally Sports name. We’ve discussed Sinclair’s dealings with various cable and streaming TV providers — and how they seem to be ending deals with each and every one of their former broadcast partners. Sinclair has revealed their endgame, though, as they plan to go direct-to-consumer in the form of a sports streaming service that will supposedly launch sometime next year.

The Athletic also has a really great article out today about blackout restrictions, the problems with a direct-to-consumer model, and the future of streaming and RSNs.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 31, 2021 at 10:30 AM | 1 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: regional sports networks, streaming, television

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   1. pthomas Posted: August 31, 2021 at 03:40 PM (#6037464)
Haven't had cable/satellite since 2015. Don't stream. After a while, baseball has just disappeared for me. Once it drops off the radar for a month...suddenly baseball just slips away. The games on "over the air" TV are now down to a trickle....there have been pretty much no "Saturday Games of The Week" in a couple of months this summer. Or, maybe I just ignored them or forgot to look for them. Even reading the sports pages for baseball news is just a waste of time. Who the hell are these people? Do the Angels even still exist? Haven't seen them on "over the air" in a long, long time.
This Sunday, in the "major media market" of Los Angeles, there were the worthless "pre-season football" games.
On CBS early (here)...we were treated to ...a broadcast of the "International Swimming League." Good for them. But "floundering" RSN's might notice that...over the air seems to be available. Just a thought.

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