Pittsburgh Pirates and Penguins launch streaming service for local games

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes.

Diamond Images | Diamond Images | Getty Images

The regional sports network that broadcasts Pittsburgh's MLB and NHL teams is launching a direct-to-consumer streaming service, the latest to make the move as more fans cut the cord.

SportsNet Pittsburgh on Monday unveiled SNP 360, which will cost fans in the local market $17.99 per month to watch Pirates and Penguins games outside of the pay-TV bundle. Viewers with a pay TV subscription also have access to the app.

The streaming offering for the Pirates and Penguins – the highest-rated NHL team in the 2023-2024 regular season – comes at a time when the regional sports network business, a key part of the professional leagues' media rights model, is taking a hit from the shift to streaming . It also follows a shakeup at SportsNet Pittsburgh last year.

The network had a new owner last year Warner Bros. Discovery exited the regional sports network business, which it inherited in the 2022 merger of Warner Media and Discovery.

The network is now owned by the Pirates and Penguins. Fenway Sports Group, owner of the Boston Red Sox, agreed to acquire a controlling interest in the Penguins in 2021. Fenway Sports Group and Delaware North, also the parent company of the Boston Bruins, own the regional sports network NESN, which operates SportsNet Pittsburgh.

“Our desire was to reach fans wherever they are and give them options to access our clubs' broadcasts,” said Sean McGrail, CEO of NESN and SportsNet Pittsburgh. “There are a lot of people now who don't subscribe to a linear TV bundle, and we wanted to make sure they had the opportunity to engage with our teams and be part of the fan base.”

Pittsburgh Penguins left winger Jake Guentzel (59) celebrates a first period goal on the players' bench during the NHL regular season game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs on November 20, 2021 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, ON.

Gerry Angus | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images

SNP 360 came together quickly over the past six months when NESN acquired Sportsnet Pittsburgh's operations, McGrail said. He said the network is offering the service at “an aggressive price,” lower than the cost of most other regional sports streaming plans, while expanding its content beyond just the Pirates and Penguins.

NESN, which broadcasts local Red Sox and Bruins games, was the first regional sports network to offer a streaming alternative for its market in 2022. NESN 360 is available for $29.99 per month, or $180 for the first year on the annual subscription.

Last year, the YES Network, home of the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty, launched its streaming service for $24.99 per month. MSG Network, which broadcasts New York Knicks, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils games, launched a new streaming service in 2023 and charges $29.99 per month.

Regional sports networks, once a lucrative business, are under pressure as consumers opt out of the traditional pay-TV bundle in favor of streaming.

Many are now offering streaming options to win back those customers. The networks remain cautious with pricing to avoid further disrupting the pay-TV model and violating contracts with distributors.

The contracts with pay-TV distributors help support the billions of dollars in fees the networks pay to professional sports teams to broadcast their games.

Diamond Sports, the owner of the largest portfolio of regional sports networks, also launched streaming services for some of its teams before filing for bankruptcy protection in 2023. During the bankruptcy proceedings, Diamond canceled contracts with some teams to avoid paying high rights fees.

“These have certainly been challenging times,” McGrail said. “But these are the times that present opportunities, and you need to actively think about your distribution strategy and how you will approach distribution in the future. This meets the needs of a certain group of people who are not in the linear world anymore. We're trying to be flexible and make sure we support these fans.”

Don't miss these exclusive offers from CNBC PRO

Related Posts

  • Business
  • May 18, 2024
  • 0 views
  • 8 minutes Read
A new New York comes to life on a Hollywood studio lot

Last summer, as the Hollywood writers' strike halted film and television production, a group of landscape painters from the legendary Fox Studio Lot took advantage of the lull to trash…

  • Business
  • May 18, 2024
  • 1 views
  • 2 minutes Read
Ex-Honolulu prosecutor and five others are found not guilty in a bribery case

HONOLULU– A jury found Honolulu's former chief prosecutor not guilty Friday in a bribery case in which alleged employees of an engineering and architectural firm bribed him with campaign donations…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Missed

A new New York comes to life on a Hollywood studio lot

  • May 18, 2024
A new New York comes to life on a Hollywood studio lot

Far Left NBCUniversal's Peacock Announces Documentary Series About Gay and Transgender Animals (VIDEO) | The Gateway expert

  • May 18, 2024
Far Left NBCUniversal's Peacock Announces Documentary Series About Gay and Transgender Animals (VIDEO) |  The Gateway expert

Donald Trump spotted with Melania at Barron's graduation ceremony after judge pauses Hush Money trial

  • May 18, 2024
Donald Trump spotted with Melania at Barron's graduation ceremony after judge pauses Hush Money trial

How Does Caitlin Clark's WNBA Salary Compare in Sports? An analysis shows big gaps

  • May 18, 2024
How Does Caitlin Clark's WNBA Salary Compare in Sports?  An analysis shows big gaps

Ex-Honolulu prosecutor and five others are found not guilty in a bribery case

  • May 18, 2024
Ex-Honolulu prosecutor and five others are found not guilty in a bribery case

The State Department issues a global alert, warning of violence against the LGBTQ community

  • May 18, 2024
The State Department issues a global alert, warning of violence against the LGBTQ community

Job growth in California is lagging; unemployment remains highest in the US

  • May 18, 2024
Job growth in California is lagging;  unemployment remains highest in the US

Trump is speaking in the battleground state he vowed to avoid after losing twice

  • May 18, 2024
Trump is speaking in the battleground state he vowed to avoid after losing twice

Kanye West's abandoned $2.2 million Calabasas Ranch is falling into disrepair

  • May 18, 2024
Kanye West's abandoned $2.2 million Calabasas Ranch is falling into disrepair

Winners and Losers of the 2024 NFL Schedule: Caleb Williams Has a Chance to Thrive; Jets face treacherous slate

  • May 18, 2024
Winners and Losers of the 2024 NFL Schedule: Caleb Williams Has a Chance to Thrive;  Jets face treacherous slate

Get Nike running sneakers for just $34 during this huge summer sale

  • May 18, 2024
Get Nike running sneakers for just $34 during this huge summer sale