Sinclair Touts Early 74% Conversion Rate for Bally Sports Plus Trial Users, but Additional MLB Rights Cloud DTC Service's Future

Diamond Sports Group
(Image credit: Sinclair)

Seventy-four percent of those who sign up for a free seven-day trial of  Bally Sports Plus end up with a paid subscription, and users of the DTC streaming service spend, on average, 33% more time on the platform than they do for the respective TV Everywhere platforms of the 19 Bally Sports regional sports network. 

Oh, and usage of Bally Sports Plus interactive features has been "better than expected."

Those were the early takeaways from the first-ever quarterly earnings report for Diamond Sports Group, the wholly owned subsidiary that runs the Bally Sports channels, which was spun off from Sinclair Broadcast Group on March 1. 

On Wednesday, Sinclair and Diamond announced that the groundbreaking Bally Sports Plus service -- which soft launched June 23 around the five Bally Sports RSNs that have DTC rights to their respective local Major League Baseball clubs -- would expand on Sept. 26 to the regions of all 19 channels in the Bally Sports portfolio, just in time for the upcoming NBA and NHL seasons. Notably, unlike baseball, Bally Sports has DTC streaming rights for every NBA and NHL team its RSNs have licenses with.

We hoped to learn even more Thursday at Diamond's first Q2 earnings report about the new streaming service, which delivers Ball Sports channels to consumers sans pay TV subscription.

But Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley and his executive team were tight-lipped about a streaming service they say hasn't received a lick of promotion yet -- that'll start on Sept. 26 with the official launch, they say. 

Ripley demurred, for example, when asked if Diamond Sports will soon have deals lined up for with other MLB teams in time for next baseball season. It will be a problem, after all, for the Bally Sports channels that haven't tied up MLB rights when the pro basketball and hockey regular seasons end next spring.

Indeed, the pressure is on for Diamond and Bally Sports Plus to lock in baseball and deliver on Sinclair's promise to investors of 5 million - 7 million eventual customers for the DTC service. 

Debt for Diamond stands at $8.6 billion. Revenue in Q2 came in below guidance at $751 million. 

Daniel Frankel

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!