The Nashville Predators are sticking with the Sinclair-owned Bally Sports regional networks. Predators’ games have been carried on the Fox and now Bally Sports regional networks since the team’s inaugural season in 1998-99. Those games were initially on Fox Sports South, then they were on the Fox Sports Tennessee part-time sub-network that was carved out in 2008, which was then was merged back into the South network around the renaming of those networks to the Bally Sports brand in early 2021. They’ll continue to be carried on Bally Sports South under a new extension. The team announced that deal Thursday:
— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) September 7, 2022
Here are some key quotes from that release, which notes that the Predators‘ games will also be available through upcoming standalone streaming service Bally Sports+ (in-market; they’re available out-of-market through ESPN+’s NHL out-of-market package). That service is set to launch for Bally Sports South on Sept. 26.
“By extending our media rights agreement, we are excited to continue one of the first relationships the Predators ever forged, because as long as we have played, our games have been brought to life through our incredible partnership,” Predators President and CEO Sean Henry said. “We are fortunate that Bally Sports South continually shows a desire to invest in and improve all features surrounding our broadcast throughout the year. As we enter the new season, Bally Sports South’s direct-to-consumer streaming product is the latest example of its commitment to our fan base in making our broadcast and Predators games even more readily available and accessible.”
…”We have a longstanding relationship with the Nashville Predators and are excited to continue to collaborate on new, innovative ways to bring Predators games to fans,” said Jeff Genthner, Senior Vice President, General Manager of Bally Sports South. “Our new Bally Sports+ streaming product adds another viewing option to our linear distribution channels this season, giving fans an option to pay directly for Bally Sports South.”
The Predators’ local territory is interesting, as it’s not as extensive as Bally Sports South’s overall territory thanks to the Carolina Hurricanes (who also have their games broadcast on Bally Sports South). The Predators’ territory is Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Mississippi, while the Hurricanes have North and South Carolina.
There wasn’t necessarily a logical other existing RSN for the Predators to go to, as there isn’t a current prominent alternative in the Tennessee market. There was Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast, but that network shut down in 2014 after losing Atlanta Braves (in 2011) and SEC (in 2014) programming. And sticking with a reasonably well-distributed RSN (the release mentions it’s on AT&T U-verse, DIRECTV, DIRECTV STREAM, Spectrum and Xfinity, amongst other providers) makes some sense for the team, and maybe even more so now that there’s going to be an over-the-top offering (although, that may be a tougher sell for Bally Sports South than some other RSNs, as they don’t yet have Braves streaming rights).
But some teams have launched RSNs as the main tenant of those networks. So it’s notable that that didn’t happen here. Instead, Bally Sports South has retained another one of its seven teams.