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Wednesday, June 01, 2022

Red Sox broadcaster becomes first regional sports network to offer standalone streaming service for games

The local cable network that airs Boston’s Major League Baseball and National Hockey League games is launching a standalone streaming subscription, marking a first for regional sports networks.

The option from NESN will be available starting Wednesday and lets people sign up to watch live games without paying for a cable subscription. It comes as millions of Americans are canceling traditional pay TV subscriptions each year as streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+ and HBO Max become more popular.

Starting Wednesday, NESN will charge $29.99 a month for streaming access to its network’s programming, which includes live Red Sox and Boston Bruins games. The first month will cost $1 as a promotional price. An annual subscription costs $329.99 and comes with eight tickets to any Red Sox game in 2022.

The service, NESN 360, will only be available to people in the New England area. MLB owns out-of-market streaming rights for its MLB TV, a streaming service that’s available nationally.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 01, 2022 at 11:52 AM | 20 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: red sox, streaming

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   1. DL from MN Posted: June 01, 2022 at 12:00 PM (#6079345)
Bundling streaming with tickets is a good idea. Attendance could use a boost in most markets.
   2. Mayor Blomberg Posted: June 01, 2022 at 01:41 PM (#6079359)
With eight tickets, you might make back the price of the subscription.
   3. Jay Seaver Posted: June 01, 2022 at 01:51 PM (#6079361)
And with this, I'm now seriously considering cord-cutting. $30/month sounds like a lot compared to other streamers, but I probably watch 50+ hours of NESN during baseball season compared to the 4-5 hours of Marvel/Star Wars stuff Disney gives me for $8/month (for example), and it's probably 75% of what I watch on cable anyway.
   4. Karl from NY Posted: June 01, 2022 at 02:44 PM (#6079373)
Yeah, if it's really any game, pick a Yankees game and you can probably just sell the tickets for the cost of the subscription.

I wonder if there's a catch, like the subscription runs for a two-plus year contract and the tickets are only for the first, or something like that.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: June 01, 2022 at 03:10 PM (#6079376)
I assume the tix are all behind pillars.

I agree bundling tix is a great idea but does the math even work? Red Sox draw about 3 M selling out almost every game. 400,000 subscribers and that's over 3 M free tix. Even at 50,000 subscribers, there can't be that many freebies available. And I assume a first-come first-serve basis. They can't be expecting much takeup.

Otherwise, $30 a month is a bit steep but if you also like the Bruins and assuming NESN has some regional college basketball that you want to watch, that might be OK. I could probably talk myself into $180 for the Cubs' season ... I think I'd have trouble justifying another $180 for the Hawks and DePaul/Loyola basketball.
   6. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 01, 2022 at 03:37 PM (#6079382)
This is really tempting for me. $30 a month is pricey but I'm basically paying Fubo $70 a month and the only thing I really watch there is NESN anyway. If I weren't a Bruins fan getting rid of the subscription from October to March would be a nice bit of business too.

As for #5 the Sox don't sell out every game game anymore. They are at a shade under 31,000 in a ballpark that can hold about 37,000.
   7. Jay Seaver Posted: June 01, 2022 at 03:47 PM (#6079383)
I'm also going to guess that the free tickets are only for people who purchase the full-year plan, and not if you're planning to go month-to-month, which I suspect might be more popular if someone is only/primarily a fan of one team or the other.

I kind of also want to hear what the app situation is. The current Roku one doesn't let me watch live games even though I'm signed in with my Comcast subscription, and doesn't offer 4K for home games, and streaming it on my computer is subject to a lot of hiccups (heck, I don't know if it's even 1080p rather than the 720p signal Comcast offers).
   8. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 01, 2022 at 03:49 PM (#6079384)
I mentioned this in another thread but there's a service here in Colorado that's basically a super-antenna hauling in all the sports channels as well as things like the local network stations and Me-TV. You rent the antenna for $25 a month. They're clearly not paying any rights fees to the RSNs so I assume at some point they will be sued into oblivion, but for now it works just fine.
   9. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: June 01, 2022 at 04:41 PM (#6079393)
This will be a success in my book if it stops even one person from buying Bally's streaming DTC gambling service because **** Sinclair.
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 01, 2022 at 05:21 PM (#6079404)
Bally's is developing their own DTC service, and don't operate in Boston.
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 01, 2022 at 05:55 PM (#6079412)
It would certainly seem rather short-sighted for the cable companies to have paid big bucks for the rights to carry NESN without getting any exclusivity in the deal and allowing NESN to compete with them by offering the same content via streaming. Not predicting a lawsuit, but I’d like to see the contract language.
   12. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: June 01, 2022 at 06:08 PM (#6079414)
Is it 8 tickets to one game, or 8 tickets broken up into up to 8 games?
   13. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 01, 2022 at 07:15 PM (#6079429)
Is it 8 tickets to one game, or 8 tickets broken up into up to 8 games?


That's the catch! It's 8 tickets to 8 games so you have to go by yourself to 8 games against the O's and Royals.

Only joking, I have no idea. I live overseas and just pony up for MLBtv and get every game, any time, any device, anywhere. It's pretty good.
   14. John Northey Posted: June 01, 2022 at 07:26 PM (#6079430)
Guess Sportsnet doesn't count (Blue Jays) - they've had a stand alone streaming service for a couple of years now. I'm watching the Jays game on my computer via it right now. Of course, Rogers owns it and the Jays and the stadium and the radio stations that broadcast the Jays, and the biggest cable network in Canada which has that channel on it, etc.
   15. Jose is Absurdly Correct but not Helpful Posted: June 02, 2022 at 09:09 AM (#6079482)
It would certainly seem rather short-sighted for the cable companies to have paid big bucks for the rights to carry NESN without getting any exclusivity in the deal and allowing NESN to compete with them by offering the same content via streaming. Not predicting a lawsuit, but I’d like to see the contract language.


I suspect that's why this process is taking so long to happen with others, that there is contract language that doesn't allow teams to do this. I wonder if NESN being owned by the Sox made it easier for them to get what they wanted done.
   16. dave h Posted: June 02, 2022 at 09:35 AM (#6079483)
I subscribed right away. The 8 tickets only come with the year-long subscription, but it's also a little cheaper per month and we'll watch Bruins games. They gave frighteningly few details on the tickets except to say that we won't be able to choose any game we want. I'm half expecting that they'll say the ticket cost is free but still charge fees. Figuring it's pretty equivalent to their "family 4-packs" that puts the real value of the tickets around $200 - food is included in those but as a family of 5 the 4-packs are much less useful. We don't have any cable so Sox/Bruins games are a pretty big hole. I doubt we'll resubscribe if it's just a straight up $330 for the year with no promotion, though. Also worth noting that the Sox are definitely not selling out right now. Last night was very light, though the weather may have played a role, and there were plenty of empty seats for last Saturday's day game. They're generally running quite a few promotions so there is clearly lower demand than the old days.
   17. DL from MN Posted: June 02, 2022 at 10:00 AM (#6079485)
They're generally running quite a few promotions so there is clearly lower demand than the old days.


I think there are two factors here. People have less money available for luxury goods like baseball tickets due to price increases on basic staples. People also have less spare time, or more demands on their spare time, now that the pandemic restrictions are over.
   18. Captain Joe Bivens, Pointless and Wonderful Posted: June 02, 2022 at 11:05 AM (#6079490)
When the team wins, the park is full. When the team is sub .500, you can buy seats day of game.

We're talking about a 37K capacity park in a metropolitan area of 3M+ people. Even in the worst economic times, the park fills when the team is good.
   19. Adam Starblind Posted: June 02, 2022 at 12:06 PM (#6079497)
I think there are two factors here. People have less money available for luxury goods like baseball tickets due to price increases on basic staples. People also have less spare time, or more demands on their spare time, now that the pandemic restrictions are over.


That, and the league is hitting .229 or something and the unknown relievers stop between every pitch to take a call.
   20. dave h Posted: June 03, 2022 at 11:10 AM (#6079731)
Update: the tickets are in the form of vouchers in my account. There can be used for any home game through August, and based on the random Saturday I clicked on seems like they're good for bleachers, RF box, RF grandstand, and RF roof box. That's expected as those are the common locations for promotions.

Between these, free Kids Nation tickets, and other promotions I think we'll end up seeing a half-dozen or more games this year. Of course even with every deal we'll still end up spending plenty of money at the park. Still overall I think the subscription is a pretty good deal for my family.

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