Beginning back in 2014, Philadelphia sports fans have been able to live stream Sixers, Flyers, and Phillies games on the NBC Sports app, provided they already had a cable subscription. But now NBC Sports is rolling out a new app that aims to be more focused on Philadelphia's teams and the attitude that comes with them.
Dubbed the MYTeams app, NBC Sports' new mobile and tablet app wraps up coverage from NBC's 11 regional sports networks, including NBC Sports Philadelphia, into an interface that focuses on team verticals. There's not even a home screen — just a slider at the bottom that lets fans scan for live video, highlights, and stories across all the teams they decide to follow.
"There's a difference between how we cover sports in Philadelphia, especially as it relates to the voice and tone of our coverage versus NBC Sports," David Preschlack, president of NBC Sports Regional Networks, said. "I mean, we're communicating to Philly fans in a really different way than Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison are on Sunday night, so there's a different value to viewers."
Fans will still need a cable subscription to view live game coverage, and the app is only available on smartphones and tablets, meaning viewers will still use the NBC Sports app to stream games on their television. Still, Preschlack said, the app is the largest non-game investment in the regional sports network's history. The network hopes the app will counter a narrative in Philadelphia that NBC Sports is cutting back.
"I can't really emphasize this enough. We're in investment mode in these businesses," Preschlack said.
There's no question fans in Philadelphia have been left scratching their heads about the strategy of NBC Sports Philadelphia, considering the recent spate of high-profile exits with little or no explanation from the network. Over the past year alone, NBC Sports Philadelphia has parted ways with longtime network personality Rob Ellis, anchor and reporter Marshall Harris and Sixers sideline reporter Molly Sullivan. There has also been a shift away from original reporting to more opinion and studio shows like Philly Sports Talk and Quick Slants, and the addition of the telecast of Mike Missanelli's 97.5 The Fanatic show.
But NBC Sports Philadelphia has also made some hires. Last month, the network hired former NBC Sports Northwest host Serena Winters to replace Sullivan as its Sixers sideline reporter, and back in July, it added former Comcast SportsNet intern Taryn Hatcher as a multi-platform host and reporter.
"When we hire talent, we need to make sure that that person plays incredibly well across all platforms. We can't just have someone that is just great on TV. It's just limiting to us," Preschlack said. "We need to have people that are great on TV that are great writers that can create and be part of great podcasts that are active socially. And that's obviously something that's evolved very quickly over the last few years."
MyTeams isn't the only new product NBC Sports has rolled out to Philadelphia sports fans. Last month, it launched "Philly Pass," a new paid streaming product that allows fans who live outside of the Philadelphia market to view the network's shows and on-demand specials. But unlike the in-market "Blazers Pass," the first direct-to-consumer streaming product offered by NBC Sports Regional Networks, Philadelphia fans aren't able to stream any live games due to existing game deals.