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Sinclair Launching Streaming-Only Platform for RSNs

“The service is rolling out in time for 2022 Opening Day as they continue negotiating with the 26 other franchises.”

Russ Heltman

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Courtesy: Sinclair Broadcast Group

Sinclair Broadcast Group is still bullish on its sports properties, with CEO Chris Ripley telling analysts that Sinclair’s regional sports network division has “ample liquidity” to operate under.

Ripley also confirmed that Sinclair is rolling out a new streaming launch in the spring to bolster its products further.

Sinclair’s CEO made the comments to analysts during the company’s third-quarter earnings call. As of now, Ripley says the company has direct-to-consumer streaming rights for four MLB franchises. The service is rolling out in time for 2022 Opening Day as they continue negotiating with the 26 other franchises.

Cord-cutting has become more and more popular over the past few years. The percentage of households with a traditional TV package is still at 71% nationwide, but it’s slowly ticked down. Sinclair knows their sports profits are rooted in a stone-age system and is doing its best to pivot.

“We do think we have critical mass in terms of rights to launch a product, and that’s what we intend to do,” Ripley said. If all goes to plan, Sinclair will be showing 14 MLB teams on its streaming platform by the time MLB throws the first pitch on the 2022 season.

As for the other major sports with loaded game schedules, Ripley is confident Sinclair will “get to the finish line with the NHL and NBA,” and have all 30 NBA teams and all 32 NHL franchises streaming on the platform before long.

The move to a streaming-only option marks a major shift for cord-cutting sports fans. Just recently, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban forked over $2.5 million of his money to help Mavericks cord cutters watch games.

“No,” Cuban responded bluntly on Twitter to a media member. “It’s me personally paying $2.5m dollars to buy down the cost of streaming Mavs games so people have an option they can afford. I don’t get any financial benefit whatsoever beyond hopefully having more Mavs fans able to watch the games. I get this is Mavs Twitter, but come on.”

Sinclair appears to be leaping into RSN streaming-only packages, a step Disney has yet to commit on with its ESPN content.

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Matt Ryan Joining CBS Sports As Guest Analyst This Weekend

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Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan is joining CBS Sports this weekend as a guest analyst.

Ryan will appear on That Other Pregame Show on CBS Sports Network at its regularly scheduled time of 9:00 AM ET before joining The NFL Today at 2:00 PM ET on CBS. The NFL Today — which usually airs from 11:00 AM-1:00 PM ET — begins at 2:00 PM ET before the network’s coverage of the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills at 3:00.

He will bring a fresh perspective to the CBS shows, after defeating two of the four remaining teams in the AFC.

The on-air opportunity could be viewed as a tryout of sorts for the 37-year-old quarterback. Ryan struggled in his first season with Indianapolis, playing in 12 of the team’s 17 games after being benched at the behest of owner Jim Irsay. Ryan was later reinserted to the starting lineup after the franchise fired head coach Frank Reich and replaced him with ESPN NFL analyst Jeff Saturday, before he was ultimately removed once more.

It is not the first broadcasting role Ryan has held. In 2020 — while still a member of the Atlanta Falcons — he hosted a 12-hour radiothon on 680 The Fan for Advance The Lives, a charity focused on combatting systemic barriers Black youth face in the greater Atlanta area.

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Mike Tirico: I Sound Like I Want to Be At The Game Because I Do

“People have said ‘When we watch the game, we feel like you want to be there,’ and I do.”

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Mike Tirico has received high marks from critics for his work over the closing weeks of the NFL season, as well as his initial playoff game that saw the Bengals defeat the Baltimore Ravens in thrilling fashion. He told ESPN 1000’s Waddle & Silvy he has been blessed with nice compliments.

“They’re fun. They’re why you do this. It’s why you’re sitting there on a Tuesday night at 10 o’clock asking ‘Do I have to watch another game of Jacksonville’s?’ It pays off. People have been very kind. The nicest thing that I’ve received from people that has made me– to be brutally honest with you — feel good is that people have said ‘When we watch the game, we feel like you want to be there,’ and I do.

“Other than being at home with my family, there’s no place I’d rather be. And every week, before I do the game, I take a little picture on my phone during the national anthem from our spot. It’s just great to look back. You’re sitting in the best spot, with all these cameras and all these TVs and all these stats. A 17-time Emmy Award winner in Cris Collinsworth right next to you. You are so lucky to do this, and I enjoy every second of it.”

Tirico’s excitement and enthusiasm were compared to his NBC cohort Al Michaels, who received heavy criticism for a perceived lack of enthusiasm as the Jacksonville Jaguars completed one of the largest comebacks in NFL history to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers in the Super Wild Card Round. Michaels dismissed the criticism as “internet compost“.

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Tom Brady To Take a Month Before Deciding To Return to NFL or Go to FOX

“Maybe he doesn’t want to broadcast, and that’s a standing offer. It’s not like he has to take it right now.”

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Tom Brady is 45 years old. His future will be a source of speculation every year at the end of the NFL season. The end of the current season is no different, but a 10-year, $375 million deal with FOX is an element that has not been in the mix before. Jordan Schultz says that could stretch out the timeline before we get any certainty from the GOAT.

“He wants to take a month or two to really evaluate everything he has,” The Score’s NFL insider told Pat McAfee on Friday. “That means on the field, off the field, I think there are a couple of really important things to consider.”

Those things for Tom Brady are his family and his goals. Schultz pointed out that Brady has two kids living in Miami, which makes the Dolphins a realistic option for next season. He also has a son living in New York, so the Jets cannot be ruled out. The Las Vegas Raiders were also mentioned as a potential landing spot.

Schultz described Brady’s deal with FOX as “the elephant in the room” right now. The dollar figure is making the decision hard, but it likely will not be the determining factor.

“The thing you miss the most is the guys and the camaraderie, maybe not the grind of football, but those guys and those experiences,” Schultz said. “You don’t get that in the booth, but you do get the money and the lack of stress.”

Complicating the decision is the fact that Brady is not under a time crunch with FOX. The network doesn’t appear to be taking the offer off the table if he is not in the booth alongside Kevin Burkhardt by a pre-determined date.

“Maybe he doesn’t want to broadcast, and that’s a standing offer. It’s not like he has to take it right now.”

Jordan Schultz says that based on what he has heard, it is more likely that FOX will have to keep waiting. While it isn’t clear exactly what Brady’s goal for 2023 is, Schultz said he would be surprised to see Brady retire now.

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