Sinclair set to land NBA digital rights for new streaming service
Sinclair Broadcast Group, the largest television station owner in the US, is close to finalizing a deal to air games from basketball’s NBA on its new streaming service as well as $600 million in funding to support the launch of the platform later this year, it has been reported.
The company is nearing an agreement with the league for local streaming rights to the 16 teams whose games air on its regional sports networks (RSNs), according to Bloomberg.
The teams include the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns, and San Antonio Spurs.
Bloomberg reports that the streaming deal and funding could be announced as early as this week.
The new streaming service will be rolled out by Sinclair’s subsidiary media and entertainment company Diamond Sports Group.
Diamond expects to go live with the offering in the first half of the year.
The NBA deal will give Diamond regional digital rights to the league in addition to the local broadcast rights that it already owns.
Sinclair also owns exclusive broadcast rights for dozens of franchises from baseball’s MLB and ice hockey’s NHL.
Reports suggest that Sinclair will charge fans around $23 a month to eventually stream games from 42 franchises in the 21 local US markets where the corporation holds rights.
In 2019, Sinclair paid $9.6 billion for the 21 regional sports networks which had previously been owned by national network Fox - giving it rights to the 16 NBA franchises, 14 MLB teams, and 12 from the NHL.
It has since rebranded those networks as Bally Sports after Bally’s agreed a deal to pay Sinclair $85 million over 10 years to revamp the RSNs and gain marketing access across Sinclair’s 190 television stations, The Tennis Channel, and its streaming service Stadium.
Sinclair also owns 20% of the YES Network in New York, which holds rights to games featuring MLB’s Yankees and the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.
The station owner would need to negotiate with the major leagues to secure streaming rights for the games. It is believed that Sinclair was waiting until the required funds were raised before entering talks and has now made a breakthrough with the NBA.
Sinclair last month also struck a deal for digital rights to the 12 NHL teams whose games air on its RSNs, which include the Arizona Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, St. Louis Blues, and Tampa Bay Lightning.
It is understood to only have digital rights to four MLB teams of the 14 whose games are shown on its RSNs, with the league having no desire to negotiate with Sinclair on the remaining rights.