No changes for NBC Sports Philadelphia as Comcast to close NBC Sports Chicago

NBC Sports Philadelphia isn’t going anywhere, at least anytime soon.

The same can’t be said for sister station NBC Sports Chicago, which will cease operations after losing broadcast rights The Chicago White Sox, Bulls, and Blackhawks moved to a new network created by the teams called the Chicago Sports Network.

With no remaining television rights with any local teams, NBC Sports Chicago will go on hiatus in the fall once the White Sox season ends, leaving NBC with just four regional sports networks — NBC Sports Philadelphia, NBC Sports Bay Area, NBC Sports Boston and NBC. California Sports. Company NBC Sports sold Washington to Monumental Sports & Entertainment In 2022.

No immediate changes are expected at NBC Sports Philadelphia due to what’s happening in Chicago, thanks to some key differences between the two networks. For starters, the TV rights to the White Sox, Bulls, and Blackhawks were about to expire, allowing the teams to pursue a joint venture they owned. Additionally, Book’s John Aurand reported Comcast has not made a “competitive effort” to retain the TV rights As cord cutting continues and the traditional cable package continues to decline, shifts that have severely impacted regional sports networks across the country.

The Phillies are in the middle of a 25-year, $2.5 billion deal that will keep their games on NBC Sports Philadelphia through 2041. Both the Sixers and Flyers also have long-term deals with the network.

There are other entanglements. The Phillies purchased a 25% stake in NBC Sports Philadelphia as part of their long-term deal. Comcast also owns Comcast Spectator subsidiary Flyers, which also owns and operates Wells Fargo Center, the Philadelphia Wings of the National Lacrosse League, and Soul Infernal (formerly Philadelphia Fusion) of the Overwatch League esports.

Prior to the 2017 rebranding, NBC Sports Philadelphia was known as Comcast SportsNet, which launched in Philadelphia on October 1, 1997.

There is still no way to stream NBC Sports Philadelphia live

Currently, the only way to watch Phillies, Sixers, and Flyers games on NBC Sports Philadelphia is to subscribe to the network’s navigation service. In addition to Comcast’s Xfinity service and Verizon’s FiOS service, NBC Sports Philadelphia is available on several so-called skinny bundles, including YouTube TV, Fubo, and Hulu + Live TV.

Rick Kordella took over as chairman of NBC Sports in Septemberand there has been no news on the streaming front since NBCUniversal Chairman Mark Lazoros said the company plans to put all of its regional sports networks — including NBC Sports Philadelphia — On the peacock in 2023. We’re now halfway through 2024, and plans haven’t been put together yet.

A similar plan to put live games on Peacock in 2021 was halted due to internal concerns about NBC’s broader streaming strategy. According to the Wall Street Journal. In 2022, NBCUniversal Local was forced to retract its statement Which suggests that the company will launch a live streaming product for its regional sports networks.

Other regional sports networks provide fans with a way to stream games and content live. In Boston, NESN charges $29.99 per month to broadcast Red Sox and Bruins games, while YES Network in New York charges $24.99 per month to broadcast Yankees games.

Right now, the cheapest way to get NBC Sports Philadelphia is through a YouTubeTV subscription, which is priced at $72.99 per month, up $8 per month from $64.99 just last year.

The network also hasn’t gotten any cheaper on Xfinity, as NBC Sports Philadelphia’s regional sports fees have risen to $14 a month this year, up from just $3 in 2016.

Regional sports networks were hit hard by cord cuts

Regional sports networks across the province are under pressure as viewers continue to cut back on their cable subscriptions and turn to cheaper options.

The cable package has made regional sports networks money-generating machines, thanks to a setup in which subscribers pay high fees each month regardless of whether they’ve watched a game before. This, in turn, provides teams – especially those in smaller markets – a lucrative revenue stream that is now being disrupted by streaming services and a la carte viewing.

Diamond Sports, formerly a group of regional sports networks owned by Fox Sports, is still trying to chart a future out of bankruptcy amid Concerns from both the NBA and NHL about the feasibility of their business plan. After their merger, Warner Bros. exited. Discovery is completely out of business, forcing teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates to scramble to have their games shown on local television. In the Buccaneers’ case, they join the Pittsburgh Penguins on SportsNet Pittsburgh, owned by NESN’s parent Fenway Sports Group.

Other teams, such as the Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, and Colorado Rockies, have seen their television rights return to MLB, which has direct deals with broadcast companies.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred wants National broadcast option, with the aim of activating it for the 2025 season. That would require the league to obtain television rights for at least 14 teams, Manfred told reporters during owner meetings last February. This will not include the Phillies and other teams that have television rights deals in place through next season and beyond.

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