A successful streaming service dedicated to sports would be a gift from all high for all sports fans, and Sinclair is now reportedly working on a solution.
Making Sports Streaming Accessible and Enjoyable
Sinclair Broadcast Group is potentially readying up to get in streaming space as the company is reportedly trying to raise $250 million with the help of investment bank LionTree. The news was reported by the New York Post, which claims that Sinclair is willing to pull the plug on the traditional distribution of televised sports and go the full Monty on Internet streaming instead.
Sinclair is unlikely to forego cable, of course, but it will certainly seek to expand, as it already owns the broadcasting rights for numerous competitions, and not least the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball.
What this means for sports fans is that they may have access to quality all-around sports coverage for just $23 a month, with details still subject to speculation. However, the Post envisages that any sports fan who is not located in one of the 21 territories where the company operates will probably be outside the scope of coverage.
Consolidation Begins, Fans Get More Quality Services
Decentralization has been a buzzword in American sports for many years now, with the open market creating a vibrant competition that has nevertheless had a somewhat adverse effect. Divvying up broadcasting rights to separate satellite and cable TV operators meant that sports fans couldn’t get the entire coverage unless they were willing to pay for all, provided the option existed, that is.
Since 2019, though, Sinclair has been consolidating its clout in the broadcasting space, buying out 21 regional sports networks from FOX and effectively paying $9.6 billion for exclusivity over the streaming rights of 16 NBA, 12 NHL, and 14 MLB teams.
Everyone in the broadcasting and cable industry is faced with a distinct shift in consumer preferences. US homes are moving towards non-cable or satellite services. In other words, everyone needs to innovate their offer, or they risk being swept by whatever company figures out a better service first.
Sinclair is effectively looking into an accessible streaming service that is affordable. Sports broadcasts have been associated with exorbitant but even more so annoying costs. Tracking down individual games has been a nightmare, and while there is an understandable reason behind that, it isn’t ideal from consumers’ standpoint.
Sports fans have become more demanding in terms of what they expect, and so Sinclair is modeling after Netflix and Amazon Primer by bringing an affordable service that is already partially familiar to the wider audience.
When you need to pay $85 a month to access Cleveland Indians and Cavaliers games, you can see why the appeal of sports can quickly diminish for many people who may be fans but not going to invest so much into watching the NBA.
What Numbers Does Sinclair Expect for Its New Streaming Service?
Sinclair does have a game plan, and that is 4.4 million customers by 2027, according to the Post. The broadcaster wants to eclipse other services, such as YouTube, which are also trying to branch into sports streaming.
There have been successful examples, of course, but not quite of the same breadth and scope that Sinclair now intends to try. DAZN has been streaming boxing matches quite successfully, and the content the platform has been putting forward has been outstanding.
Sinclair is ready to try its hand by collecting all streaming rights in a single subsidiary and then use streaming proceedings to pay off creditors, the Post explained, citing a person close to the matter. The last hurdle that needs to be cleared seems to be the leagues agreeing to the plan.
Therein lies the trouble because going from $85 for a few games a month to $23 for many games a month is definitely not a good idea at first glance. However, streaming platforms have been able to revolutionize how we consume content online, and this may now be coming to sports as well.
The company previously spoke of direct-to-consumer streaming in the first half of 2022 in a bid to boost Bally Sports’ regional sports network. Sinclair also said that it would keep adding more gambling content as part of its offering.