image via Dallas Stars/Victory+

The Dallas Stars are making a hard pivot away from the regional sports network model. On Monday, the team officially announced the launch of a new free streaming service called Victory+, which will air all Stars games going forward.

Victory+ (stylized as VICTORY+ for whatever reason) will be available to all fans beginning in September, and fans in the Stars’ local broadcast territory will be able to stream all of the team’s games for free. Fans outside the viewing area cannot watch live games and be limited to ancillary content.

Notably, the service, launched in partnership with A Parent Media Company (APMC), will be free and supported by ads for all users. APMC is perhaps most known for its work in launching Dude Perfect’s streaming product.

“After years of researching the right solution and careful planning with our partners at APMC, we’re proud to announce this pioneering streaming platform that will literally change the game for sports distribution on VICTORY+,” said Dallas Stars President and CEO Brad Alberts. “Our first priority has always been our fan base, and on VICTORY+ fans will be able to stream 100 percent of Stars content for free through this innovative and unique streaming platform for sports programming. Despite the mutual agreement between the Dallas Stars and Diamond Sports Group to end our current relationship pending court approval, we would like to acknowledge that we wouldn’t be here today without the partnership and commitment of Bally Sports and their staff over the past 25 years and thank them for their partnership.”

This service has been in the works since at least February when Stars president and CEO Brad Alberts talked about the team’s media future with the Dallas Morning News. Last week, the team and long-time media partner Bally Sports Southwest agreed to part ways with a year remaining on their media rights contract.

Launching Victory+ as a free, ad-supported service, and inking a seven-year deal with APMC, is a huge change from the traditional model. The Sports Business Journal reports that the Stars receive a minimum revenue guarantee from APMC. This will help numb the pain of losing tens of millions in annual rights fees from Bally Sports Southwest and its owner, the Diamond Sports Group.

APMC is keeping the door open for more teams to join. The release notes that the Stars are “the service’s first client as it prepares to welcome additional professional sports teams in the near future.”

The big question is whether or not a free service powered by ads rather than subscription fees will generate enough revenue to be a viable option for teams in the future. If so, this could be a game-changer for both fans and teams.

[Dallas Stars]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.