As the never ending cord-cutting battle that prevents millions of fans from watching their favorite teams continues, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban thinks he may have found a temporary solution.
Foot the bill so fans can watch.
The Dallas Mavericks start their 2021-22 home schedule on Tuesday night against the Houston Rockets, and if you don’t have the right provider you won’t be able to watch it on TV.
By the time the Mavericks host the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, however, you may be able to watch.
Cuban told Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket on Monday morning that he plans to cover some of the cost for Mavs season ticket holders, and fans, who want to watch the games but currently don’t have the proper service.
“It tore me apart not having a solution for Mavs fans who want to watch,” Cuban told The Ticket. “I want to put up my own money to buy down the price of DirecTV streaming service. It had been $85 a month, and that understandably is too expensive for Mavs fans.”
Cuban’s plan is reduce the cost to $35 a month. Fans who sign up and buy the DirecTV Stream service, Cuban will send a $50 check each month.
His offer will be made available for season ticket holders first, and then to Mavs ticket buyers. He expects after that the offer to be made available for general fans.
“After that we’ll look at writing a bigger check,” he said.
Cuban’s only requirement for the check is that the fans who sign up for the service watch the games. These sorts of things are easily tracked.
As long as fans are watching, he’ll bring the price down.
This is not a cure for what continues to be a major problem for the Mavericks, Dallas Stars and Texas Rangers, all of which are carried locally by Bally Sports Southwest, a subsidiary of Sinclair.
Cuban’s grand gesture underscores the level of importance for sports leagues, and individual owners, who realize that the cord-cutting battle between consumers and Sinclair needs a solution.
I asked him if he sees an end in sight to this disagreement, “Yes, I just don’t know when,” was his e-mailed response.
This problem began when many of the contracts between Sinlclair and the streaming services such as YouTube TV, Hulu and others expired last fall.
Consumers who use YouTube TV, Hulu+ Live TV, fuboTV and SlingTV will not have access for a second straight NBA season.
Sinclair wants to charge a higher price than YouTube TV, Hulu and so many other carriers are willing to pay. That leaves a small number of possibilities for fans who want to watch the games.
Locally, you can watch the Mavs, Stars and Rangers via DirecTV, Spectrum and TVMax. The only streaming option is DirecTV Stream.
Bally Sports plans to offer a standalone streaming app in 2022, but don’t expect it to be cheap. The floating price reported by the New York Post was $23 a month.
All of this has left millions of fans all over the U.S. electing not to watch the games, which is a problem that every league is trying to address.
During his season-opening press conference, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said as much.
“We’re very focused on reshaping the model in terms of the way our games are distributed now so that even if games are on cable or satellite in a local market, that fans who don’t choose to subscribe to a larger bundle aren’t disenfranchised from the league,” Silver said.
“And the numbers are particularly dramatic for our younger fans, who generally either are not subscribing to cable or satellite, or to the extent they are, are largely using it to watch other platforms. Using it as a broadband provider.
“I think that we have to be mindful of not taking our fans for granted, and that at some point if our product becomes unavailable to them, they’re going to look for alternative ways to entertain themselves.”
Mark Cuban is well aware of this reality, and evolution, which is why he’s offering his own money.