Adapting to the Streaming Era: How RSNs are Keeping Up
Regional sports networks (RSNs) have been forced to adapt to the changing landscape of sports broadcasting brought on by the rise of streaming services. With traditional cable TV subscriptions on the decline, RSNs have had to find new ways to reach audiences and remain relevant in the industry. In this article, we’ll explore how RSNs are adapting to the changes brought on by streaming services and hear from two industry experts on their thoughts.
One way RSNs are adapting to the rise of streaming services is by partnering with streaming platforms to offer their content to viewers. For example, NBC Sports Regional Networks has partnered with fuboTV to offer live streams of its RSNs to viewers in its markets. This has allowed fans to watch their local sports teams on a streaming platform, without needing a cable TV subscription.
According to David Preschlack, President of NBC Sports Regional Networks, “Partnering with streaming services like fuboTV has been a game-changer for us. It’s allowed us to reach fans who may not have a cable subscription but still want to watch their local teams. It’s also allowed us to experiment with different types of programming and reach new audiences in ways we wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.”
Another way RSNs are adapting to the rise of streaming services is by creating their own streaming platforms. For example, Sinclair Broadcast Group, the owner of many RSNs including Bally Sports, launched the Bally Sports app in March 2021. The app offers live streams of games, as well as additional content such as pre-game and post-game shows, highlights, and analysis. This has allowed Bally Sports to offer its content directly to viewers, without needing to partner with a third-party streaming service.
Jeff Krolik, President of Sinclair Broadcast Group, had this to say about the launch of the Bally Sports app: “We knew that we needed to adapt to the changing landscape of sports broadcasting. Launching the Bally Sports app was a big step for us, but we felt it was necessary to offer our content directly to viewers. We’re excited about the potential of the app and the opportunities it provides for us to engage with our fans.”
In addition to partnering with streaming services and creating their own streaming platforms, RSNs are also focusing on creating original content for digital and social media platforms. This includes short-form videos, social media series, and podcasts. By creating content specifically for digital and social media, RSNs are able to reach younger audiences who may not consume traditional television broadcasts.
According to Chris Giles, Vice President of Content and Media at Sinclair Broadcast Group, “We’ve seen a shift in how younger audiences consume sports content. They’re not just watching full games on TV, they’re consuming highlights on social media, they’re listening to podcasts, and they’re engaging with teams and players on social media. It’s important for RSNs to adapt to these changes and create content that resonates with younger audiences.”
RSNs are facing challenges adapting to the changes brought on by streaming services, but they’re also finding new opportunities to reach audiences and grow their brands. By partnering with streaming services, creating their own streaming platforms, and focusing on original content for digital and social media platforms, RSNs are adapting to the changing landscape of sports broadcasting. As David Preschlack of NBC Sports Regional Networks said, “The industry is constantly evolving, and we have to be willing to adapt and try new things to stay relevant.”