Report: Sinclair eyes new sports streaming service.
When Sinclair Broadcasting bought 21 regional sports networks from Disney in 2019, plenty of people knew that it was going to be tough sledding. That certainly seemed to be the case when the company took a $4.23 billion charge last year “related mostly to the regional sports networks business” and posted a $3.21 billion loss for the third quarter alone. Given that they’re on the hook for $1.82 billion in rights fees in 2021, it’s not like Sinclair has time to spare when it comes to figuring out how to turn the RSNs into profitable entities.
Most have presumed that legalized gambling is the way forward for the RSNs (hence the Bally Sports rebranding). But it sounds like streaming could be a key part of that puzzle as well. According to the New York Post’s Josh Kosman, the media company is working with investment bank LionTree to raise more than $250 million for a streaming service that would broadcast games they have exclusive rights to.
Sinclair had previously announced its intentions to start a streaming service back in December after both Hulu and YouTube dropped the RSNs from their live-sports packages. In a clear case of trying to beat’em if you can’t join’em, Sinclair’s streaming service would directly challenge those vMVPD (virtual multichannel video programming distributor) services, putting them in the same league as ESPN+ as a must-have for fans who want to live-stream their favourite teams consistently.
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