New England Sports Network, the RSN home to the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins, will become the first regional sports network in America to offer its service outside the pay TV bundle as a direct-to-consumer streaming service.
Starting Wednesday, NESN 360 will be available in the home market for $29.99 a month, with the first month promotionally priced at $1. An annual subscription is priced at $329.99 and includes eight tickets to see the Red Sox, currently a middling fourth place in the American League East and watching the Yankees run away with the division.
Subscribers can stream NESN’s live feeds and VOD library directly to their computer, iOS and Android mobile devices, and Apple TV or Roku connected TV gadgets and enabled smart TVs. A page outlining the service can be found here.
Those who already subscribe to NESN through a linear pay TV operator will be able to authenticate and view NESN 360 the ol’ TV Everywhere way. (The service appears based on the legacy NESN app and NESN TV platform, which has long provided pay TV subscribers TVE streaming rights to the channel.)
NESN is only available in the New England region, with Major League Baseball and its MLB TV product controlling national OTT rights.
“We believe the direct subscription option will build on NESN’s reach in the region,” said Sean McGrail, NESN’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement.
NESN is majority-owned by Fenway Sports Group, which also owns the Red Sox. Its linear channel is currently available across New England, save for Fairfield County, Connecticut, via pay TV bundlers including Comcast, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, DirecTV, Verizon Communications and fuboTV.
NESN 360 beat Sinclair Broadcast Group to market, with the station owner planning to launch its own DTC service later this summer for its Bally Sports Group RSNs.
Sinclair has tied up local OTT rights for teams NBA and NHL teams covered by its 19 Bally Sports channels. Sinclair also has DTC rights to Major League Baseball's Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays. ■
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!
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