Monday December 4, 2023

Sinclair Raising $250M for Streaming Service

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports/Design: Alex Brooks
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Things are looking up for Sinclair after a roller coaster year in sports.

The company is raising $250 million with investment fund LionTree for a new sports streaming service, per The New York Post.

“If Sinclair is successful, it will change the industry more quickly than I imagined,” a director for an unaffiliated broadcaster told The Post.

Sinclair had 52 million cable subscribers at the end of 2020 and already has rights to broadcast MLB, NBA, and NHL games. However, Sinclair will still need to negotiate with the leagues to secure streaming rights.

The new streaming service would reach fans within Sinclair’s 21 territories — which includes 42 teams across the four major sports leagues. It’s expected to cost about $23 per month. 

Sinclair purchased all 21 territories and Fox College Sports from Disney for $9.6 billion in 2019, but it has since lost Dish, YouTube TV, and Hulu as distributors due to pandemic-related cancelations and delays.

Recently, it’s been finding ways to combat those losses.

  • In November, Sinclair signed a naming rights deal with Bally Sports for $85 million over 10 years to hold its 21 sports networks under the Bally name. Sinclair received a 15% stake in Bally’s with the potential to increase the holding to 30% if goals are met.
  • Bally’s has acquired Bet.Works, Monkey Knife Fight, and free-to-play sports game provider SportCaller in the past year.

Sinclair aims to launch the new service by the start of next year’s MLB season and projects 4.4 million streaming customers by 2027 — more than YouTube TV.

The broadcaster recorded annual earnings of $1.89 billion in 2020.

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