Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns the Bally Sports regional networks that broadcast live game coverage for more than 25 major professional sports teams in the US, is planning to release their content in streaming format in 2022, according to a release.
Bally Sports, which replaced the FOX Sports regional network this year, is active in 19 markets in the United States, with several pro teams in Major League Baseball, the NBA, and NHL in their catalog. Sinclair purchased the network in 2020, but only branded it under the Bally name this year. They have indicated a desire to expand the regional coverage into other areas.
A streaming version of the Bally Sports networks would fill a void because many fans in local markets are cutting the cord and not purchasing traditional cable television packages, where they currently would find the broadcasts.
Status Of Streaming Rights And Blackouts Uncertain
This announcement does not address the complicated nature of streaming rights for teams in the NBA and NHL, or the controversial blackout restrictions that MLB imposes. If Bally were to be able to offer streamed games to fans in their own market who do not have cable subscriptions, it could greatly increase interest.
Previously, FOX Sports Go was offered for these regional locations, but users needed to have a cable subscription to view live games. Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley says the future streaming network will result in “a platform for interaction and socialization for the fan.”