Evoca unveils Sling TV bundle, launches service in Portland

Evoca, an over-the-air (OTA) pay TV service, has inked a deal with Dish Network’s Sling TV to provide Evoca subscribers an enhanced programming bundle.

As of Wednesday, new and existing Evoca customers can select one out of three Sling TV options to supplement their subscriptions. The tiers available are Sling Orange, Sling Blue and a combined offering of both tiers.

Sling Orange is tailored for family and sports-focused channels – like ESPN and the Disney Channel. Whereas Sling Blue is geared more towards news and entertainment, such as the Fox and NBC channels. A bundle that includes Evoca channels for local content and regional sports (usually $25 per month) and Sling Orange or Sling Blue costs $55 per month, plus the cost of Evoca’s Scout receiver – which is either $5 per month to rent or $250 to buy. The combined Sling Orange and Blue offering plus Evoca is priced at $70 per month in addition to the receiver. These rates include a $5 discount for each bundled package. 

Evoca’s plans to integrate Sling have been in the works for about a year, Evoca CEO and President Todd Achilles told Fierce Video. The partnership marries Evoca’s local programming – particularly regional sports – with Sling’s national channels offering into an easy-to-use, affordable add-on. Essentially, Evoca customers can save more money signing up for the bundle, as opposed to subscribing to Sling and Evoca separately. Sling on its own usually costs $35 per month for either Orange or Blue, and $50 per month for both tiers together.

“We’re really the first ones to crack the code on a ‘skinny bundle’ of local content and regional sports – what we’re doing in our markets for $25 a month,” Achilles said. “Sling really complements what we’re doing well. Being able to bring Sling on for people that want to have those national channels, it’s a great fit.”

Evoca, which leverages ATSC 3.0 (NextGen) broadcasting technology, first launched two years ago in Boise, Idaho. Since then, Evoca has added markets including Phoenix, Arizona as well as Denver and Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Achilles also thinks the Evoca/Sling bundle is indicative of a growing trend around broadcasting. Kagan’s latest Media & Communications overview highlighted around 30% of the Dallas and Phoenix markets watch OTA TV. Evoca’s home market of Boise, Achilles pointed out, may become the first majority OTA market in the U.S. by the end of Q2 2022.

“You look at the viewership numbers for over-the-air homes, it continues to go up,” he said, estimating OTA viewership is rising 3-4% annually, while cable and satellite viewers are declining. ATSC 3.0, Achilles pointed out, is essentially OTA converged with streaming and OTT elements.

“This is like a whole new way to deliver TV into homes, to break through all of these unnecessarily expensive services and just deliver a great bundle,” he said. “That’s what people want.”

Further expanding its markets, Evoca is launching this week in Portland, Oregon. Its lineup for Portland customers includes the ROOT Sports Northwest channel.

Achilles said Evoca is focusing on markets out West, where there may be not enough affordable pay TV offerings and Evoca can provide a “compelling bundle.” ROOT Sports, he added, is the only regional sports network (RSN) that carries pro sports content from Oregon and Washington.

“If you’re a Blazers fan or a Mariners fan, we are the best way to watch those local teams,” said Achilles.

In other news from Evoca, the company in April integrated an emergency alerts feature that can be relayed through Evoca’s receiver – allowing viewers to receive vital information both OTA and via streaming.