Sinclair secures NBA deal, including live games, for upcoming streaming service

Sinclair Broadcast Company today announced a new distribution rights agreement with the NBA that includes access to live games for its upcoming streaming service.

Diamond Sports Group, a subsidiary of Sinclair, now has streaming rights in local territories for 16 NBA teams: Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, LA Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, and San Antonio Spurs.

The agreement puts another major piece in place for Sinclair’s planned direct-to-consumer sports streaming service, which will operate in addition to the company’s Bally Sports regional networks. Last month, the company announced an agreement with the NHL that included streaming rights in the local territories of 12 NHL teams.

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“We are excited about our continued partnership with the NBA which allows us to bring the league’s in-demand and exciting basketball content to local fans across multiple platforms,” said Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley in a statement. “Sinclair places the highest importance on connecting sports fans with live games and other sports content. We are looking forward to the launch of our DTC platform in 2022, ushering in a new era of local sports viewing with a more personalized and dynamic viewing experience.”

Sinclair hasn’t announced which MLB teams will be part of its streaming service but S&P Global Market’s Mike Reynolds pointed out that since the company acquired the Bally Sports RSNs in 2019, it has renewed deals with the Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Miami Marlins and Detroit Tigers.

Sinclair has yet to announce a launch date or pricing for its upcoming streaming service but Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand said the service will likely cost more than $20 per month and will limit live game availability to local markets.

In a regulatory filing last summer, Sinclair predicted its streaming service could eventually attract approximately 4.4 million subscribers and generate around $2 billion in annual revenue. The company projected about 1.7 million subscribers to the service would be from the cord-cutter/cord-never category and another approximately 1.4 million would be non-RSN subscribers from its distributor partners. About 1.3 million subscribers would come from current subscribers to its Bally Sports networks.