July 2, 2022

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Sports Really Satisfies

NESN launches app that features live streams of Red Sox and Bruins games

For those without traditional NESN, there are two plans available at $29.99 a month. There’s a month-to-month option with a $1 promotional offer for the first month, while the prepaid $329.99 annual plan comes, for a limited time, with eight Red Sox tickets.

Sean McGrail, president and CEO of NESN, described the streaming app as “a companion product” to what the network currently offers, and a product that will evolve.

“This is another opportunity for us to make sure fans have the ability to watch the teams they love,” said McGrail. “There are changes in the media landscape, there’s no question about it, and this is a way of responding to make sure we have unilateral access for all of New England, and all of the people who are fans of our teams to get access to those products.”

Eighty percent of NESN is owned by Fenway Sports Group, parent company of the Red Sox, with the Bruins owning the rest.

As with its fiber-optic, satellite-dish, or cable-based cousins, a NESN 360 user will be able to stream content only if their phone, computer, smart TV, Apple TV, or Roku device is located within New England, minus Fairfield County in Connecticut.

After downloading, a NESN-less customer would pick the monthly or annual plan, while a subscriber would link their app to their existing provider account.

Open the app, and a home page appears, with the top two clickable options being whatever is on NESN or NESN+ at that moment. Scroll down, and there will be a library of assorted video-on-demand features, such as recently produced David Ortiz, Jerry Remy, and Bruins specials, plus full rebroadcasts of past Red Sox games, including nationally televised games.

There also will be unique content for the streaming app that won’t air on old-school NESN.

Devout Red Sox fan Jared Carrabis will have his own “Beyond Fenway with Jared Carrabis” show featuring social visits with Red Sox players.

The “Pitching Ninja,” otherwise known as Rob Friedman, will offer inside looks at Red Sox pitching.

Collaborations with other content providers, including the Globe, are in the works.

Later this summer, NESN plans to introduce an ultra-high-def broadcast to the app, make the streaming content available on Fire TV and Google TV apps, and perhaps carry a live home Red Sox batting practice feed.

That variety pack of choices is one of three components that went into the network’s thinking when it settled on the $30-a-month price, said Ahmed Darwish, chief marketing officer at NESN.

“What we’re offering is a unique offering, no one else is doing this in-market, 220 live Red Sox and Bruins games, two of the top franchises in all of sports, plus added content that we’re creating specifically for this service,” said Darwish.

According to Darwish, the price also factors in the promotional value of a $1 first-month option for monthly users and the $450 value of the Red Sox tickets. A Bruins promotional ticket offer will come in the fall.

Sports betting is legal in half of New England — Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire — but not, significantly, in Massachusetts. Still, Darwish said, “There is a way to integrate sports betting in the future [on NESN 360].”

That FSG holds a significant stake in content-producing SpringHill Entertainment, which is owned by FSG partners LeBron James and Maverick Carter, presents another potential path to integrating NESN 360 within the FSG family of businesses.


Michael Silverman can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @MikeSilvermanBB.