Interview Synopsis

Sinclair Broadcast Group RSN (Regional Sports Network) update – D2C challenges

  • Credit
  • TMT
  • North America

When Sinclair Broadcast Group bought Fox’s regional sports networks (RSNs) for USD 9.6bn in 2019, many assumed it had hit a home run. But two years and a global pandemic later, Sinclair is now “suffering”, according to an executive at LHB Sports Entertainment.

Sinclair runs into trouble as RSNs and pandemic hit

The Interview – which began with a look at the current tensions between Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred and Sinclair – gave an overview of Sinclair’s direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategy, pricing options and position in the future of sports broadcasting.

The specialist noted that the MLB, as well as the National Basketball Association [NBA], are “not confident” in Sinclair’s ability to pull off a D2C strategy. Sinclair and its RSNs are currently “way behind the curve” in terms of generating a D2C strategy, the specialist said, at a time when its traditional market – cable and pay TV exclusives – is shrinking.

How Sinclair’s D2C strategy evolves will depend on the success of its yet-to-be-launched online streaming service, Bally Sports. However, the specialist highlighted that the company must resolve a number of issues related to the service, including authorisation from the various sporting associations to stream games, and the restrictions RSNs already have from their distribution deals with multichannel video programming distributors.

The specialist also noted that Bally Sports’ USD 23 a month pricing would attract a “very limited audience”, citing a lack of competitiveness compared to other streaming channels, the number of games that can be streamed given regional regulations, and the impact of a team’s performance in limiting churn.

When asked about the future of sports broadcasting, the specialist said that they see “a new normal … a new model in place”. However, the expert is unsure about what role Sinclair may play, if any.

To access all the human insights in Third Bridge Forum’s Sinclair Broadcast Group RSN (Regional Sports Network)  Update – D2C Challenges – 22 October 2021 Interview, click here to view the full transcript.

The information used in compiling this document has been obtained by Third Bridge from experts participating in Forum Interviews. Third Bridge does not warrant the accuracy of the information and has not independently verified it. It should not be regarded as a trade recommendation or form the basis of any investment decision.

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