According to the NY Post, LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer balked at Fox Sports‘ $60 million-a-year offer for local television rights, and is exploring the option of streaming his team’s games over the Web.
A report from the L.A. Business News says the Clippers were seeking $100 million a year.
If successful, the former CEO of Microsoft would become the first major sports team owner to bypass traditional cable or satellite companies.
The NBA is reportedly also going ahead with pay-per-stream offers:
Clippers games are now aired to roughly 5 million Los Angeles-area homes through Fox Sports’ Prime Ticket regional sports network in a deal that runs through the 2015-16 season.
Prime Ticket currently pays the team a rights fee of $25 million a year — and offered a 140 percent increase, to $60 million, but the billionaire Ballmer turned it aside. […] Prime Ticket’s exclusive negotiating window closed in June, one source said — meaning Ballmer is free to negotiate with others.
Some observers think the bombastic Ballmer is merely using the threat of forming an over-the-top network as a play to wring more money from an RSN. But others think the plan is real. […] “Steve Ballmer has not renewed his deal with Fox,” said one source close to the situation. “He’s looking at a [digital] subscription channel.”