Boston-Based NESN Starts First Stand-Alone Streaming Regional Sports Network Service

New England-based regional sports channel NESN, which airs Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins games, says it has become the first regional sports network to start a separate, stand-alone, direct-to-consumer streaming service -- NESN 360.

Up until now, the only way for consumers to access its sports content was through traditional pay TV providers -- a cable system, satellite TV service, or telco company.

It will be regularly priced at $29.99 per month, with a special introductory rate of $1 for the first month of service. An annual subscription is priced at $329.99.

Regional sports networks have been slowly angling to get into the D2C business as some traditional and new virtual pay TV providers -- such as Hulu + LIve TV, YouTube TV, and Sling TV -- have declined to carry RSNs due to lower profitability.



Existing subscribers who already have NESN through a linear TV provider will be able to “authenticate” into getting NESN 360 which includes streaming live Red Sox and Bruins games and video on demand content.

Through its existing NESN app, NESN’s pay TV subscribers have long had the ability to stream live and VOD content.

Other RSN rights holders such as Sinclair Broadcast Group have been planning to start streaming D2C versions of their 19 owned regional sports network under the Bally Sports brand name.

Recently, Sinclair hired Michael Schneider, a senior Hulu marketing executive, to be the chief operating officer and general manager of Bally Sports+, its new direct-to-consumer (D2C) sports division.

Though Sinclair has had difficulty in getting deals with some virtual pay TV providers and other legacy providers, in April, it re-upped a deal with Charter Communications, the second-biggest traditional cable system group.

This deal included a retransmission deal with its TV stations as well as a carriage deal with the Sinclair-owned Tennis Channel, the company’s 19 Bally Sports RSN brands, Marquee Sports Network and the YES Network.

Next story loading loading..