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Bally’s Chair Predicts Streaming, Interactive RSN Platform

“Kim thinks this new streaming service would be a great way to spark gaming and TV integration.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Bally's Gaming

Regional sports networks are receiving a bad reputation of late, but Bally’s chair Soo Kim is bullish on their long-term outlook. Kim spoke with Front Office Sports’ Owen Poindexter about the present and future of the medium.

Kim’s company entered into a 10-year, $85 million naming deal with Sinclair Broadcast Group in November 2020. The deal secured naming rights to 21 of Sinclair’s RSNs.

Sinclair is planning on bundling those RSNs into a streaming service. The company outlined the plan in an 8K filing with the SEC. Sinclair believes they could attract 4.4 million subscribers to the service while generating around $2 billion in revenue. The breakdown would be split into three different sections.

Around 1.7 million subscribers to the service would come from the cord-cutter category, which has limited access to their favorite team’s games if they play on a Sinclair channel. The next group would be 1.4 million RSN subscribers from its distributor partners. Finally, the group is rounded out by 1.3 million subscribers on its traditional TV services.

Kim thinks this new streaming service would be a great way to spark gaming and TV integration.

“You can create a very different kind of experience of how sports are consumed,” Kim said to Front Office Sports. “It could potentially be a lot more interactive, a lot more engaging, and we think that’s where the future of sports is going to go.”

Even if the RSN market keeps slowing down, Bally’s got plenty of value over the first year of this deal. “Last year, there were something like 4 billion impressions of the words ‘Bally Sports,’” Kim told FOS.

How much an impression is worth is anyone’s guess but the ultimate goal for Bally’s isn’t to drive sports betting.

“Sports gaming itself is not actually the best gambling product for the house,” said Kim. “There’s variable margins, informational advantages, and liquidity is hard to match sometimes. iGaming is a much better business.”

There were plenty of angles on Bally’s radar when they made this massive naming deal, and so far, they seem pleased with the results.

Sports TV News

ESPN Assigns Broadcast Teams for MLB Wild Card Round

In preparation for the postseason, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

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Wild Card
David Berding/Getty Images

There are just a few games left in the MLB season and the postseason begins this weekend with the Wild Card round. In preparation, ESPN has assigned the broadcast teams for the series forthcoming.

Andrew Marchand reports that the team assigned to the presumptive New York Mets Wild Card series will be Karl Ravech, David Cone and Eduardo Perez. The Mets still mathematically can win the NL East but they trail the Braves by two games with three to play.

He also reports that the St. Louis Wild Card series will be called by Michael Kay and Alex Rodriguez. The Cleveland series will be broadcast by Boog Sciambi and Doug Glanville while the Toronto series will be called by Dave Flemming, Jessica Mendoza and Tim Kurkjian.

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Sports TV News

Stugotz: ‘Sean McDonough Hates The Aaron Judge Cut-Ins’

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

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College football fans are not being shy with how they feel about Aaron Judge. Whether it is private conversations or social media posts, people are making their disdain for the cut-ins to college football games on ESPN networks when the Yankee slugger comes to bat known. On Monday morning, Stugotz added that it isn’t just fans that are unhappy.

The Dan Le Batard Show discussed the second straight week of cut-ins on Monday morning. Stugotz pointed out that one of ESPN’s primary college football voices sounds just as annoyed as fans are.

“Sean McDonough hates the toss to Aaron Judge,” he said. Hates it!”

Last week, ESPN and ABC cut into games when Judge was sitting on 60 home runs. This week, he was sitting on 61. A 62nd home run would be the most in American League history.

Stugotz added that has to be part of McDonough’s frustration.

“In his defense, what are we cutting in for? I have no idea if [Aaron Judge] is breaking a record, what record he’s breaking, if he’s clean. I have no idea!”

Producer Mike Ryan Ruiz said the fact that Judge is yet to deliver is making the cut-ins more frustrating for fans.

“I think what hurts the whole thing is that Aaron Judge has been terrible during these cut-ins,” Ruiz said. “He’s been God awful during these cut-ins. I haven’t seen a single home runs during one of these cut-ins. There was genuine fury at a watch party I was at. Fury! At Aaron Judge.”

A popular criticism of ESPN has been that this kind of attention would not be paid to Aaron Judge if he was chasing a mark that wasn’t the home run record if he played anywhere other than New York. According to Ryan, the mistake is bigger than that. Why would regular season baseball ever interrupt college football?

“If you look at the numbers, if you look at the interest, if you look at the revenue that it generates for the networks, it makes more sense to have an Aaron Judge at-bat interrupted by an Iowa State field goal attempt than it does the other way around.”

There are four games left in Major League Baseball’s regular season. You can bet college football fans will make plenty of signs for College GameDay if Judge cannot hit number 62 before the playoffs start.

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Sports TV News

Terry Bradshaw Is Cancer Free

Bradshaw’s candor comes after struggling through a sentence during the September 25th edition of the show, in which Howie Long helped finish his sentence.

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During FOX NFL Sunday, Terry Bradshaw revealed he was diagnosed with two different forms of cancer in the last year.

However, after surgeries and treatments, Bradshaw said he is now cancer free.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer said he was diagnosed with bladder cancer in November of last year and surgery and treatments removed the cancer. Then, in March of this year, a tumor was found on the left-side of his neck. Bradshaw called it a “Merkel cell tumor”, which he had removed.

Bradshaw’s candor comes after struggling through a sentence during the September 25th edition of the show, in which Howie Long helped finish his sentence.

The 74-year-old has worked on FOX NFL Sunday since its inception in 1994. He will be inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame later this year.

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