Artemi Panarin #10 of the New York Rangers celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the third period against the Los Angeles Kings at Madison Square Garden on February 26, 2023 in New York City.
Jared Silber | National Hockey League | Getty Images
MSG Networks, James Dolan’s cable-TV channels that feature local New York and New Jersey professional sports games, is launching its own streaming service.
MSG+ will launch this summer with games for the NBA’s New York Knicks, as well as the NHL’s New York Rangers, Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils. The streaming service will cost $29.99 a month, or $309.99 annually, according to a company release on Wednesday.
MSG Networks also said it recently launched a free, ad-supported streaming TV, or FAST, channel called MSG SportsZone, which is available nationally on Vizio televisions and the Plex streaming platform. Additional platforms are coming soon. The FAST channel features MSG Networks’ programming centered around sports betting and classic games.
MSG+ will only be available in the region that already carries its MSG Networks on cable-TV. Traditional TV subscribers will also get access to MSG+ for free.
The launch comes as regional sports networks in particular have felt the pain of consumers leaving the cable-TV bundle, opting for streaming services instead. However, watching local sports teams is often difficult for cord-cutters as few online bundles carry regional sports networks and the networks have been slow to offer their own direct-to-consumer options.
These networks also must be careful when pricing their streaming options so not to further disrupt the pay-TV model, and breach contracts with distributors. The pay-TV contracts for regional sports networks help support the billions of dollars in fees that the networks pay professional sports teams to air their games.
Launching direct-to-consumer streaming services is a bid to keep or bring back customers that have cut the cord. Last year, New England Sports Network, the local TV home of the MLB’s Boston Red Sox and NHL’s Bruins, launched a streaming option similarly priced at $29.99 a month, or $329.99 annually.
Meanwhile, Diamond Sports Group launched Bally Sports+ last fall, priced at $19.99 a month, or $189.99 per year.
MSG Networks’ new streaming service will also allow fans to purchase single game streaming feeds for $9.99 per game. This offering has yet to be made available by other regional sports networks that have created a streaming platform.
However, the cable-TV providers have seen the rate of customers fleeing the bundle accelerate in the last year, which has exacerbated their issues.
Diamond’s Bally Sports is on the brink of bankruptcy due to a hefty debt load. Warner Bros. Discovery is reportedly looking to get out of the regional sports networks business.