Sinclair-owned multi-platform sports streaming network Stadium launched in 2017 and is now in dozens of markets as a linear channel but also available over-the-top through various services. Just over a year later, the company announced Shams Charania’s hiring to bring his NBA scoops and reporting to TV.
After low six-figure Twitter audiences for various tentpole basketball specials starring the 26-year-old Charania over the last couple of years, last fall’s NBA Draft show on Twitter racked up 1.1 million live video views on Twitter alone, per Stadium figures.
“Now when I have conversations with people about content I’m creating or working on, one of the questions I get is whether the project is for Stadium,” Charania said. “And I wasn’t getting that the first year. We’ve become a known entity.”
The company will try and build off those Twitter numbers for Thursday’s Inside The Association trade deadline live special. The 90-minute show at 2 p.m. eastern will feature Charania alongside host Cameron Smith, former Detroit Pistons executive Pat Garrity and former All-Star forward Kenyon Martin. Basketball fans who rabidly seek up-to-the-second information, rumors and trade scuttlebutt can watch the broadcast on Twitter, Roku, Sling, Fubo TV, YouTube TV and Twitch, among other outlets. FanDuel will be the show’s presenting sponsor.
“I love when we can go live on Twitter and go direct to consumer,” he said.
Since signing lucrative multi-year deals to re-sign with Stadium and The Athletic at the end of last summer, Charania has been utilized in more ways at Stadium aside from NBA specials and video interview segments with players and coaches, which are now done remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic. This season, that’s included several appearances on Sinclair-owned regional sports networks long known as Fox Sports but is changing over to Bally’s Sports as part of a reported 10-year, $85 million deal with the casino and betting operators. Those appearances on pregame and postgame shows as well as some in-game chats in the future will only increase over time.
Charania’s integration from strictly a Stadium presence to one on 19 regional sports networks across the country mirrors how Sinclair wants to more broadly distribute Stadium content. Inside The Association specials for the draft and NBA free agency went out to RSN affiliates late last year, and programming like that will extend to other sports.
With Bally’s Sports owning local broadcast rights to 14 of the 30 MLB teams, Stadium will start to produce content that will be televised on the local RSN’s including “Bally’s Sports Big Opening Day” on April 1. The multi-hour show will air before respective pregame shows. We’ll be seeing more offerings like that going forward, with talent for these shows currently being discussed by the network.
Sinclair has also made it well known that sports betting and gambling will be a big part of everything they do going forward with Bally’s Sports RSNs and other properties like Stadium. For Stadium, it’s a safe assumption that betting will be a major content and broadcasting priority moving forward.