Sinclair Seems Done with Everyone's Nonsense

Sinclair Is Done With Everyone's Nonsense

June 29, 2021

If you're both a sports fan and a cord-cutter, you'll note how frustrating regional sports have become. The biggest battlefront in cord-cutting right now is between the companies that own the rights to regional sports networks and cord-cutting services, who don't really want to pay the increasingly high carriage fees. Sinclair Broadcasting has been seen as one of the biggest villains in this struggle, but recent news indicates it may be tired of all the nonsense.

Streamer's Spotlight: Sinclair's Pouts, Declares It's Making Its Own Service

If you haven't been following the regional sports drama over the last year or so, here's the short version:

  • Companies that own the rights to that content have been raising prices on carriage fees

  • Most cord-cutting services don't want to pay those fees

  • Companies (like Sinclair) refuse to budge

  • Cord-cutting services respond by dropping regional sports

That's it in a nutshell. Right now, most of the popular vMVPDs, like YouTube TV, Sling TV, and Hulu + Live TV, no longer carry most regional sports networks due to these contract disagreements. Everyone's in a stalemate until companies like Sinclair choose to bring down the price. AT&T TV is the only hold-out, and, unsurprisingly, it's also the most expensive vMVPD on the market.

Sinclair Pulls a Bender

In a famous

Futurama

episode (the second episode of the series), the robot character Bender gets thrown out of an amusement park. In the midst of his indignance, he declares, "I am going to build my own theme park with blackjack and hookers!".

Don't get too excited. Sinclair broadcast is (mostly) now

. But it's basically doing the same, in essence. This past week, the company announced that it plans to launch its own sports streaming network for live, local sports. The launch date is targeted at 2022 with the start of the MLB season. Sinclair also plans to allow sports betting where it's legally available.

So yes. It's basically making its own sports amusement park, and gambling will at least be part of that.

What About Hulu, YouTube TV, Et. Al.?

Sinclair will, quite obviously, be using the service to mitigate the fact that nobody wants to pay its carriage fees. Alongside the fact that people are fleeing traditional cable in droves, Sinclair is likely struggling for revenue. And instead of lower its rates to entice the vMVPDs back into the fold, it's forging its own path, reportedly at $23 per month.

What Is the Chance Sinclair Will Succeed?

Actually, as much as Sinclair is disliked, there's a good chance this is exactly what they needed to do. The vMVPD providers are already operating on slim margins. Sports are the most expensive channels to offer in the package, and RSNs were the first to bite the bullet to boost revenues after these companies raised prices. We can't even lay all the blame at Sinclair's feet. They're trying to win in a low-margin market with a high-priced product.

People still want their regional sports. Sinclair making its own service to get there, despite the glut of services available, is probably going to work out in its favor. People are less willing to sign up for traditional cable just to get RSNs. But they may be far more willing to sign up for a cord-cutting service, especially if the price is right and they aren't locked into a long-term contract.

This Week's Streaming Guide

1. Netflix Re-Imagines the Revolutionary War

"A chainsaw-wielding George Washington teams with beer-loving bro Sam Adams to take down the Brits". Well, then. Streaming Wednesday (June 29) on Netflix. -

2. Netflix's Live-Action 'Dynasty Warriors' Hits Streaming

The company has turned yet another video game into a Iive action show. Streaming on Netflix this Thursday (July 1). -

3. Chris Pratt's 'The Tomorrow War' Arrives to Prime Video

Time travelers bring an urgent message to the past: We're losing the war and we need help! Streaming on Prime Video this Friday (July 2). -

4. Don't Miss the Macy's Fireworks!

The Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Extravaganza streams live on ABC this Sunday (July 4). -

News and Industry Developments

1. Sinclair Is Raising Money for Its Own Sports Service

The price will be around $23 per month when launched in 2022. -

2. Cinedigm Enters Distribution Deal with The Country Network

Cinedigm will be the new home for country music. -

3. Hulu Is Winning Numbers Game Among Younger Demographics

The company is winning the market for customers aged 18-34. -

4. Everything Coming to Disney+ in July

The 'Loki' Finale and the 'Black Widow' movie are only tidbits of Disney's large July plans. -

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