Home

RSNs Continue To Do Strong Business On The Backs Of Local Teams' Popularity

RSNs Continue To Do Strong Business On The Backs Of Local Teams' Popularity

By Eric Fisher, Staff Writer

Published

Krolik said that consumers now demand in-market live streaming
The RSN business, seemingly imperiled a year ago amid declining cable subscribers and industry disruption, remains a strong business making good profits, said industry executives at the '17 CAA World Congress of Sports. Panelists in particular cited the high standing of pro teams in local market TV ratings. “We all have to admit the world has changed,” said Fox Sports Regional Networks President Jeff Krolik. “Cord-cutting is real. Distributor consolidation is real. But there are 29 domestic MLB teams. Twenty-three of them rank in the top 5 [in their markets] when they play. Nine of those teams rank No. 1. So if you ask what the No. 1 rated television program is, it isn’t 'Empire' or 'This Is Us' in Baltimore, in Cleveland, in San Francisco, and so forth. The answer is the regional sports network. And that’s a pretty powerful thing to be able to say.”

MUST-HAVE STREAMING: In-market live streaming in a mere matter of months has gone from a supplemental piece of programming to vital content, said the panel. NBC Regional Sports Network President David Preschlack called in-market streaming a “must-have.” Preschlack: “You have to be there from a fan standpoint. Period. Full stop. And then you have to figure how to monetize it. But for us, we’re driving a fair amount of traffic [to in-market streaming], and it’s growing. Our NBA traffic is up almost 20% year over year. We’re now up and going with MLB. Hockey we sort of got mid-stream, but it’s growing month over month. It’s a priority for all our regionals, and it represents a unique ad sales opportunity.” Krolik added, “Clearly it’s demand pull, and not supply push. Consumers are demanding it, particularly younger viewers, and it’s gone beyond a question of can we have it to it being a must-have.”

KNIGHTS RIGHTS: A decision on the local media rights for the expansion NHL Vegas Golden Knights is approaching fast, said Evolution Media Capital partner Alan Gold. “Hopefully, we’ll have a decision in the next few weeks,” said Gold, who is formally representing the team in marketing its local media rights. “This is a unique opportunity. It’s a very, very complicated RSN market. You already have nine professional teams who have access to the Las Vegas market. Putting aside hockey, there are six baseball teams who can go in there. It’s unique because we’re trying to balance revenue versus exposure. It’s very important to get off to a fast start and have the broadest reach possible, especially as you’re building a new brand for an expansion franchise, and for hockey in Las Vegas. I think [Bill Foley] is a phenomenal owner who has really zeroed in on what’s important to the franchise, and the good news is we have multiple people [interested in the rights].”

Classified Advertisements

Home