Red Sox and Bruins fans now have a new way to stream live games without paying for cable, but it won't be cheap. On Wednesday, NESN, the broadcaster for Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins games, announced that it will stream live games to fans in the New England area for $30 per month through its NESN 360 service.
The direct-to-consumer streaming option marks the first time a local regional sports network has offered its local professional teams' live games to users without requiring a cable or satellite subscription (or a streaming platform like DirecTV Stream or FuboTV). NESN says that those who pay for cable will be able to log in with their cable provider's credentials and get "the same experience" including the ability to watch live games on the go.
The new NESN 360 service can be streamed on web browsers or in the NESN 360 app for iOS, Android, Apple TV and Roku devices. You will need to be in the New England area to watch the games and the service won't stream games that are on national networks like Fox, ESPN, TNT or TBS.
As part of a promotion, NESN -- which is owned by the Red Sox and Bruins -- is offering a $1 first month price for those who opt for its monthly plan. It also has an annual subscription option that runs $330 per year and includes eight Red Sox tickets. Boston Celtics games, which are broadcast on NBC Sports Boston, will not be available on the service.
Live sports has long been considered one of the costliest elements of a cable subscription and industry watchers have been waiting to see when networks might break free of that model and offer a streaming option directly to cord-cutters.
Sinclair, which owns the rights to 19 regional sports networks under the Bally Sports brand, has been teasing that it will offer a "Bally Sports Plus" for $20 per month (or $190 if purchased annually) as soon as this June.
While the leagues have their own streaming services like MLB.TV for baseball and NBA League Pass for basketball, those subscriptions are only for "out-of-market" games that aren't available on local television. Those "in-market" games have traditionally been "blacked out" from those feeds and require those interested to watch on a local network. With NESN 360, fans in New England will have a new way to watch without cable -- so long as they're willing to pony up for another subscription.