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Sinclair Gets Deal With NBA Including Local Direct-to-Consumer Rights

Los Angeles Clippers vs Memphis Grizzlies on January 8, 2022
Bally Sports networks will be able to stream NBA games in such markets as Los Angeles and Memphis under the new rights deal (Image credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

Sinclair Broadcast Group‘s regional sports network unit Diamond Sports Group has signed a new deal with the National Basketball Association that gives its Bally Sports networks permission to offer streaming content including live games on an authenticated and direct-to-consumer basis.

The deal covers 16 NBA teams in their local territories.

Diamond Sports also said it made deals to raise $600 million in new capital from existing borrowers. The new funds are expected to be used to help build the DTC platform.

Sinclair has been looking to launch a direct-to-consumer service this year to bolster its RSN business, which has been under strain from cord-cutting and heavy debt.

Questions have surrounded Sinclair’s plan since Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred suggested that Sinclair did not have sufficient rights to mount a DTC service.

Sinclair stock rose 2% Thursday morning after the NBA deal was announced.

Sinclair in December announced a renewal of its deal with the National Hockey League, that included direct-to-consumer streaming for 12 teams

“We are excited about our continued partnership with the NBA which allows us to bring the league’s in-demand and exciting basketball content to local fans across multiple platforms,” said Chris Ripley, Sinclair’s president and CEO. “Sinclair places the highest importance on connecting sports fans with live games and other sports content. We are looking forward to the launch of our DTC platform in 2022, ushering in a new era of local sports viewing with a more personalized and dynamic viewing experience.”

Also: Sinclair’s Bally Sports RSNs Set To Launch ‘The Rally’ on Jan. 24

Teams included in the agreement are the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs. ■