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Dallas Stars will stream their regional game broadcasts for free
Dallas Stars will stream their regional game broadcasts for free

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — The Dallas Stars are now broadcasting their local games directly to consumers for free after years of fans struggling to watch the team’s games on a regional sports network.

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

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

Diamond Sports, which markets its networks under the Bally name, is working to emerge from bankruptcy, further complicating the problem many Major League Baseball, NBA and NHL teams face regarding future game broadcasts. Bally Sports still holds the rights to broadcast games of the defending World Series champion Texas Rangers and NBA Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks.

Bally owned the rights to 70 of the Stars’ 82 regular-season games last season and the first round of the playoffs. But Bally Sports Southwest was unavailable on many popular streaming platforms, and there were times when fans had trouble watching games through an app.

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

Neil Gruninger, president and CEO of APMC, said the company has more than a decade of experience in secure streaming and monetization.

“This is a remarkable opportunity to partner with the Dallas Stars, an organization that puts its fans first,” said Gruninger. “Using our digital expertise, we aim to create a state-of-the-art platform that unites fans, teams, athletes, content providers, advertisers and brands in a unique streaming service that celebrates them all together.”

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