Sinclair’s Bally Sports+ launches with distribution on Roku

Bally Sports+, the direct-to-consumer regional sports networks streaming service from Sinclair Broadcast subsidiary Diamond Sports Group, officially launched Monday with Roku as a new distribution partner.

The Bally Sports+ service had a soft launch in June, debuting in five regions. Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said in August that the company was “very pleased” at results so far, with early subscription volumes that were “better than we expected.”

With the full launch that features 19 Bally regional sports networks (RSNs), subscribers within regional coverage areas can watch live NBA and NHL games, produced by Bally Sports, in their markets without the need for a pay TV subscription. Subscribers also get access to local pre- and post-game shows, collegiate and high school sports, along with Bally Sports’ national programming such as “The Rally” and “Live on the Lie, Powered by BetMGM.”

Roku marks a major streaming platform as a distribution partner for Bally Sports+, which is priced at around $20 per month or $190 for an annual subscription after a seven-day free trial. Roku users will be able to download the Bally Sports app, subscribe to the service and stream live games and programming within the Roku platform. Roku users that have a pay TV subscription can still authenticate through the Bally sports app to access their regional sports content.

“Our regional sports audiences include some of the most loyal viewers, and we are excited to expand our reach as we officially launch Bally Sports+, offering fans even more ways to watch their hometown teams,” said Michael Schneider, COO and GM of Bally Sports+, in a statement. “Roku shares our same passion for delivering live, local sports to fans across the country on a nightly basis. They have been fantastic partners in servicing our pay TV viewers and we look forward to growing our partnership with the addition of our direct-to-consumer offering.”

Aside from Roku, the Bally Sports+ service is available on Amazon Fire, Android TV, Apple TV, and Android and iOS mobile and tablet devices, as well as the web.

As Bally Sports+ marks its official rollout, reports have recently surfaced that the RSNs could be up for grabs, potentially through a sale of Diamond Sports (which operates the RSNs) to professional sports leagues of MLB, NBA or NHL.  A New York Post report last week cited unnamed sources as saying Sinclair is set to begin talks with the three leagues about a possible divestiture. Before that, the Sports Business Journal reported that Sinclair had hired two investment banks with experience in sports media deals.