The latest on Bally Sports, Pacers broadcasts and how the Jazz removed all friction for fans to watch
The 15 NBA teams with local telecasts on a Bally Sports network may terminate their deal at the end of the season. Jazz owner Ryan Smith offers new insight and numbers on the DTC model.
Pacers games will continue to air locally on Bally Sports Indiana. At least through the end of this season.
More documents were filed this week from parent company Diamond Sports Group, currently under Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, and an agreement was reached with the NBA for the 15 teams that have deals with DSG to have the ability to terminate their deals at the conclusion of this season.
This provides clarification to both sides, assurances that Bally Sports will honor their contracts through the end of the season in attempt to minimize disruption for fans.
The Pacers re-signed with Bally Sports Indiana in Sept. 2022, but things have not gone smoothly. It’s not available on popular streaming platforms and last week, problems with a third-party company kept most Pacers fans from watching multiple games.
“We are continuing to work with Bally and so is the league,” Pacers Sports & Entertainment CEO Rick Fuson told Fieldhouse Files this week. “We look forward to seeing it on TV.”
If you are a subscriber to Bally Sports+, you should have received an email from the network apologizing for what happened and stating that you will receive a 7-day credit.
“We will not promise perfection but truly our mission is to deliver an improved experience because the teams and their fans deserve it,” the email read. “We hope to earn back your trust in time.”
There’s more, according to the Sports Business Journal.
Deal terms, according to several sources, have the NBA’s teams agreeing to a 16% reduction in their rights fees for this year to get the flexibility of aligning all contract end-dates for April.
Another interesting part of Diamond’s NBA deal allows the 15 affected NBA teams to shop up to 10 games to an over-the-air broadcaster in each market this season. The belief is that part of the revenue from these deals will offset -- in part -- the 16% rights fee cuts. It also allows the teams to begin to establish relationships with local broadcasters, who have been aggressive in bidding for local sports rights in several markets.
More teams will look into going over-the-air in local markets, like the Suns and Jazz chose to do this season.
Here’s Jazz owner Ryan Smith on “The Pat McAfee Show” on Wednesday:
I come from a world (at Qualtrics) where if you deliver a good experience, the rest takes care of itself. We were providing a media situation where we were only showing our games to 1.2 of the 3.3 million people in Utah. And it was very much ‘this is the experience you’re gonna get.' Anything outside of that, you can’t track it.
We cut the cord, basically signed five new media deals where we went over-the-air free for 3.3 million people. We did streaming, now up to 16,000 (subscribers) who are streaming with about well north of 50% of them are tuning into every game.
Wherever you are and however you consume, that there’s a way that you can find our games. We want to take all friction out of watching our games. We’re truly in the eyeball business now. And now we’re saying, ok, we’ll get broad reach and we think we’ve pretty much 5x’d our market size.
Moreover, the NBA can consider a number of ways to go with the digital rights in the offseason. They could push NBA League Pass, or sell it as a bundle to a streaming platform such as Amazon or Apple TV+.
It’s all very interesting in today’s ever-changing TV landscape. And I’ll continue to do my best to keep you informed on how it directly impacts you.