The Clippers’ delightfully-quixotic billionaire owner is at it again. In a rather stunning turn of events, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has apparently eschewed a local television deal worth about $60 million to broadcast Clippers games. Instead, he wants to start his own streaming service that would deliver games directly to the fans. Via Claire Atkinson of The New York Post:
“The 59-year-old Ballmer’s tenure at Microsoft gave him direct insight into the world of live-streaming video — thanks to the success of its global Xbox gaming console.
While he may have the technological smarts to pull it off, Ballmer may find it hard to earn more than $60 million in revenue a year from a single sport streaming RSN, experts said.
The Clippers would have to sign up around 10 percent of LA’s 5 million households and get a pretty high price for the service, those people said.”
No other team in the NBA offers such a service, and that’s because a venture like this isn’t without significant risk factors. Most organizations simply offer access to games the old-fashion way via cable services. Fox Sports’ Prime Ticket network will continue airing Clippers games until their contract ends after the coming season in 2016.
The network had reportedly offered Ballmer $60 million to renew its contract, which would have been a massive 140 percent increase from their current $25 million deal. It remains to be seen whether Ballmer will be able to sell enough subscriptions to equal those numbers, especially considering the glaring fact that there is a four-month offseason during which the entire NBA is on hiatus.