MSG Networks on Wednesday announced it will launch a new streaming service this summer called MSG+, marking a milestone in local sports coverage.
This is the first time a New York-area regional sports network has taken the step of offering what is known as a “direct-to-consumer” option for viewers.
It will allow fans without a traditional cable or satellite subscription to bypass that system and instead order MSG as a standalone product.
NESN, which carries the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins, and Bally Sports, which has channels around the country, already offer such services. But unlike them, MSG will allow viewers to order single games in addition to monthly and annual subscriptions.
Even though MSG made its announcement on Wednesday, it is likely that before the first Knicks or Rangers game is seen on MSG+ this autumn, the YES Network will offer a similar direct-to-consumer service for Yankees games this season.
Yankees president Randy Levine said on WFAN last July that YES would have a DTC product “very soon.” It is unclear whether it will happen by Opening Day.
MSG will charge $29.99 per month and $309.99 per year for MSG+, the same monthly price as NESN.
Part of the pricing strategy for RSNs that have taken this step is to make it high enough to avoid draining too many customers from cable bundles – which is a dwindling market but still a key driver of revenue.
The single game option will cost $9.99.
Subscribers to MSG through a traditional pay TV bundle will be able to access the streaming service at no additional charge, as they can now with MSG GO.
In a news release, MSG Networks president Andrea Greenberg said, “The introduction of MSG+ this summer will be a significant milestone for our company and will offer a mix of subscription options for fans who do not subscribe to a traditional, bundled pay television subscription.”