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News: Dallas Stars, Paramount, Buck-MLB

News: Dallas Stars, Paramount, Buck-MLB
News: Dallas Stars, Paramount, Buck-MLB

The Dallas Stars are launching a free, ad-supported streaming service for local broadcasts of the team’s games. Plus: Paramount and Skydance merger officially announced; Joe Buck will return to the Cardinals’ stand later this month after earlier plans were derailed by rain.

Dallas Stars launch FAST channel to air local games

The NHL’s Dallas Stars will launch a free, ad-supported streaming service to air the team’s local rights package following a mutual agreement between the Stars and former rights holder Diamond Sports last week to terminate the current contract. The service will be called Victory+ Sports Network.

The Stars’ over-the-top move is the first of its kind for a major North American franchise. Until now, teams that have transitioned from regional sports networks have opted to remain on linear television through deals with local broadcast affiliates, typically with a paid direct-to-consumer digital offering on the side. Victory+ Sports Network will be fully ad-supported and free to consumers.

As part of the agreement, A Parent Media Co. (which co-owns Victory+ with the Stars) will provide a “minimum revenue guarantee” to the franchise to help mitigate risk. The signed deal is for seven years, meaning Stars games will be free to watch in the Dallas market through the 2031-32 season. (Sports Business Journal, 7.8)

Paramount and Skydance officially announce merger

The long-awaited deal between Paramount and Skydance was made official Sunday night after months of back-and-forth negotiations. The agreement marks the end of the Redstone family’s control over Paramount’s film studio and media assets, including the CBS broadcast channel and other linear properties like MTV and Comedy Central.

In an investor call on Monday, Skydance said David Ellison noted how important sports content is to the new company. Ellison specifically discussed a “pact” with the NFL for his storytelling, mentioning a Dallas Cowboys project that is in the works. Jeff ShellsFormer NBCUniversal CEO and the new president of the merged company, said that “sports are the foundation of our business” and that the new Paramount wants to expand its sports offerings. (CNBC, 7.8) (Steinberg, 7.8)

Buck to announce Cardinals game later this month

After a rain delay in May scuppered plans for Joe Buck to return to the Cardinals’ broadcast booth for the first time since 2007, the reunion will now take place against the Rangers on July 29, according to the St. Louis Post-Shipping on Friday. Buck was scheduled to announce the May 24 broadcast with Chip Caraygrandson of the famous announcer Harry Caray who worked with Buck’s father Jack Buck on Cardinals broadcasts in the 1950s and 1960s. The July 29 game comes just days before Buck begins his preseason NFL duties, as he is scheduled to cover the Hall of Fame induction game for ESPN/ABC on Aug. 1. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 7/5)