Breaking Down the Suns’ New Media Deal and the Challenges Facing the NBA’s RSNs
The Phoenix Suns recently announced their new media deal with Arizona Sports, which will see the team’s games broadcast on FOX Sports Arizona and Bally Sports Arizona. This comes after the team’s previous deal with FOX Sports Arizona expired at the end of the 2020-21 season. While the new deal is exciting for Suns fans and the team itself, it shines a light on the challenges facing NBA regional sports networks (RSNs) in today’s media landscape.
A Changing Media Landscape
The rise of cord-cutting and streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime has had a significant impact on the traditional cable TV model. This has led to a decline in viewership for many RSNs, including those that broadcast NBA games. As a result, these networks are facing financial challenges and struggling to attract advertisers.
Moreover, sports leagues like the NBA are now looking to digital platforms to reach younger audiences and adapt to changing viewer habits. This has resulted in the rise of streaming services like NBA League Pass, which allows fans to watch live games online instead of on cable TV.
The Sun’s New Media Deal
The Suns’ new media deal is a reflection of the current state of the NBA RSN market. By partnering with Arizona Sports, the team is diversifying its media portfolio and reaching fans on multiple platforms. In addition to the traditional cable TV broadcast, Suns fans will be able to stream games on the Bally Sports app and website.
The move also represents a shift away from reliance on one broadcast partner, as the team will now be broadcast on both FOX Sports Arizona and Bally Sports Arizona. This move allows the team to reach more fans and potentially attract new advertisers to its media properties.
The Challenges Facing NBA RSNs
Despite the advantages of the Suns’ new media deal, NBA RSNs still face significant challenges. As mentioned before, declining viewership and the rise of cord-cutting mean that fewer people are watching traditional cable TV broadcasts. This has led to a decrease in ad revenue for RSNs and forced some networks to cut back on coverage of certain teams or sports.
Moreover, some RSNs have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced the postponement or cancellation of many games. This has led to a loss of ad revenue and made it difficult for networks to generate profits. As a result, many RSNs are looking to merge or form partnerships with other regional networks to increase their market presence and reduce costs.
The Suns’ new media deal with Arizona Sports reflects the challenges facing NBA RSNs in today’s media landscape. Cord-cutting and the rise of streaming services have led to declining viewership and ad revenue for many RSNs, making it difficult for them to make a profit. The Suns’ move to diversify their media portfolio and reach fans on multiple platforms is a step in the right direction, but RSNs still face significant challenges as they adapt to the changing media landscape. #SPORT