Monday, March 27

Will Braves telecasts join Bally Sports’ new $20-per-month service?

Bally has reached league-level deals with the NBA and NHL that will allow it to include teams in those leagues on the new app next season if Bally holds the local TV rights. That takes care of the Hawks. But in MLB, Bally has had to negotiate on a team-by-team basis and so far has reached direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming deals with only five teams. The Braves confirmed Thursday they are not among those teams. The deals reportedly are with the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays.

“The rest of the teams, we’re having constructive dialogue on,” Ripley said Wednesday. “Given the status of where we are in our launch, there isn’t really a huge timing rush on that, but we are having constructive discussions on it.”

“And we’re also having constructive conversations at the league level as well, so both with our teams and with MLB itself,” Sinclair chief operating officer Rob Weisbord added.

Will the Braves eventually join the DTC service, which Ripley referred to as “Bally Sports Plus,” and offer their cable-cutting fans a streaming alternative?

Greg Maffei, CEO of Braves owner Liberty Media, expressed skepticism on a conference call in February. “Frankly, the way it is structured, I don’t think it’s attractive for most (MLB) teams to do that,” Maffei said at the time.

The Hawks, meanwhile, have enthusiastically endorsed the concept, with CEO Steve Koonin recently saying on the AJC’s Hawks Report podcast that the new app will be “good news” for the team in terms of attracting young viewers. “That’s something we’ll promote to our fans and encourage to our fans and hopefully maybe even be able to create discounts with Bally’s for our fans,” Koonin said. “The TV business is so rapidly changing.”

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