Dallas Stars will start streaming their regional game broadcasts for free

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — The Dallas Stars are taking their local game broadcasts directly to consumers for free after years of fans having issues watching the team’s games on a regional sports network.

The NHL team announced Monday that it has entered into a seven-year agreement with A Parent Media Co. Inc. to stream all Stars regional games free of charge on a new VICTORY+ streaming service starting next season. The move comes after the Stars and financially troubled Diamond Sports Group last week mutually agreed to end their existing rights agreement for games on Bally Sports Southwest.

“After years of researching the right solution and careful planning with our partners at APMC, we’re proud to announce this pioneering streaming platform that will literally change the game for sports distribution on VICTORY+,” Dallas Stars President and CEO Brad Alberts said in a statement. “Our first priority has always been our fan base, and on VICTORY+ fans will be able to stream 100 percent of Stars content for free through this innovative and unique streaming platform for sports programming.”

Diamond Sports, which distributes networks under the Bally name, is working to emerge from bankruptcy, further complicating the issue that many Major League Baseball, NBA and NHL teams are facing about game broadcasts going forward. Bally Sports is still the rights holder to broadcast games for the reigning World Series champion Texas Rangers and NBA Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks.

Bally had the rights to 70 of the Stars’ 82 regular-season games last season and the first round of the playoffs. But Bally Sports Southwest wasn’t available on many popular streaming platforms, and there were times when fans had issues trying to watch games on an app.

VICTORY+ will be available for download on smart TVs, tablets and smartphones in September and will allow fans inside the Stars’ regional territory of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas to watch games. Those outside that region will still be able to view a menu of ancillary content provided by the team. The service will be offered as a free, ad-supported streaming service.

APMC President and CEO Neil Gruninger said the company has more than a decade of safe streaming and monetization experience.

“This presents a remarkable opportunity to collaborate with the Dallas Stars, an organization that is prioritizing their fans,” Gruninger said. “Leveraging our digital expertise, we aim to create a cutting-edge platform that unites fans, teams, athletes, content providers, advertisers and brands in a unique streaming service that celebrates them all collectively.”

The Stanley Cup champion Florida Panthers last week also left Bally Sports and are moving their local broadcasts to Scripps Sports.

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