The Bally Sports Big Opening Day arrived with great pomp and gusto to entice Fox Fans to transition smoothly from their former favorite regional sports channel to one that they must now find a way to acclimatize. There is no choice in this matter and fans are already grumbling about the new scoreboard and the delayed app launch. But no one said the rebranding of a regional sports channel was an easy task, let alone of a brand that has existed very successfully for 25 years.
Yet, Bally Sports is here and whether one likes it or not, there is no choice but to get on board. So what is Bally Sports and how did the existence of this brand come about? Here’s everything you need to know
Related: Bally Sports Wisconsin
What is Bally Sports?
According to Fox Sports, Bally Sports is a collection of 19 regional sports channels that used to previously run under the Fox Sports roster. The Sports Channel is expected to provide comprehensive coverage of local games and hometown teams.
Bally Sports will deliver live coverage of games and sporting events that were previously covered by Fox Sports. Just like Fox Sports, Bally Sports will also be divided into different channels depending on the region. Currently, the entire channel roster has rights to 42 professional teams ranging from the NBA and MLB to NHL.
Bally Sports to Fox Sports Explained
Despite the hopes that fans harbor for this particular change, Bally Sports is not the same as Fox Sports. The more obvious differences such as branding and tone aside, there is also an upgrade element involved. It’s important to understand the nature of this change as more than just a rebranding exercise. While on the one hand, both Fox and Bally are going to run the same content as before, there will be a difference in the way Bally runs the show.
Bally Sports is focused on more than just covering games and related content, there is a special addition in the form of an in-game gambling feature. As part of this feature, there will be a special statistic for live games on the scoreboard that sports gamblers can refer to in order to place bets within Bally Sport’s app itself.
Bally Sports is also making concerted efforts to establish a strong digital presence so there will be a major addition of properties which will include a new website, app, and Social Media properties. So basically, sports fans who want nothing more than to watch a game can do that while those who are more invested in terms of bets and wagers have extra features to look forward to.
Another major tidbit that one must remember is that Bally Sports is a rebranding of only the Fox Regional Sports channels in the U.S. The main FOX channel is very much in existence and will continue to cater to both U.S and international audiences in terms of sports and games that premier in domains outside the U.S.
Why is Fox Sports becoming Bally Sports?
Rebranding is a very tricky situation and more often than not it happens due to a necessity rather than choice. The Bally Sports rebranding was definitely one driven by necessity, thanks to a requirement by the Department of Justice that compelled Disney to sell Fox’s regional networks to avoid a monopoly issue (since Disney also owns ESPN and ABC Sports).
The sale of Fox’s regional sports networks was also important for Disney to receive approval for the acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets. To comply with the Department of Justice’s order, Disney sold Fox’s regional sports networks to Sinclair Broadcast Group and Diamond Sports Group for $10 Billion in 2019. Thus, the process of Fox Sports becoming Bally Sports started two years ago.
As part of the handover process and sale, the Sinclair group could only use the Fox name for 18 months, which was supposed to be enough time for them to plan and execute the rebranding.
The group decided to partner with Bally’s Corporation, a gaming company based in Lincoln, Rhode Island that owns 11 casinos, a horse racetrack, and 13 authorized OTB licenses in Colorado. This partnership was intended to use the Bally name for the next ten years and also appeal to sports gamblers and elevate the experience of watching sports. From the looks of it, the deal is arriving at its final completion in the form of a large-scale rebranding process.
Bally Sports app
Well that’s ONE way to start the season 😱 https://t.co/WzUqz19CUd
— Bally Sports (@BallySports) April 1, 2021
There will absolutely be a Bally Sports app and it was expected to replace the current Fox Sports Go app by March 31.
However, there has been a noticeable delay in the app’s launch and it has not made an appearance yet. The app is Bally’s opportunity to build on its image as being more than a regional sports channel.
With the option to place live bets on the app as well as view additional content such as highlights from the NHL, NBA, and MLB among other things, Sinclair is hoping to make the app an essential companion for its channels. It almost goes without saying that user engagement and revenue generation are the main priorities of the Bally Sports app.
What are the features of the Bally Sports app?
As of yet, Bally Sports has not disclosed anything in terms of the features available on the Bally Sports app. Besides the speculation regarding the introduction of a ‘Live Bets’ feature, there is very little to know about the app till it has been officially released.
Is Bally Sports paid?
There has been no indication that the app will be a paid one (yet), however, if you want to access the channel on your TV, then you will have to get a cable provider or a Satellite service that offers Bally Sports. If you’re already subscribed to some form of service to get access to Fox Sports, then stick to it because all the Fox Sports Regional channels will be replaced with Bally Sports and you will most likely have to continue paying whatever you already were before.
If you want to get the channel via a service, then AT&T provides a no-contract plan for $85/month and a two-year contract plan for $65/month which you’ll have to purchase to access Bally Sports. We reckon that those who don’t have a service provider will have to rely on the app for live content which may or may not be a paid service.
How to watch Bally Sports (without the app)
Like we mentioned in the earlier section, you will need to have a subscription to a third-party provider in order to access Bally Sports without the app. While there has been mention of bringing the content to viewers directly, Bally Sports has yet to mention how they intend to do this. For now, the only thing that has been ascertained is that direct-to-consumer plans are only going to be executed in 2022 or later.
How many teams will feature on Bally Sports
All the teams that featured on Fox Sports will feature on Bally Sports as well. This means that all 42 professional teams the rights to which are held by the regional channels are going to be a part of the Bally Sports family. The 42 professional teams include 16 NBA, 14 MLB, and 12 NHL teams that feature on the regional channels.
How many regional channels will Bally Sports have on its roster?
There are 19 regional sports channels along with the Marquee Sports Network and Yes Network that are part of the Bally Sports roster. Here’s the list:
- Bally Sports Arizona
- Bally Sports Detroit
- Bally Sports Florida
- Bally Sports Sun
- Bally Sports Indiana
- Bally Sports Kansas City
- Bally Sports Midwest
- Bally Sports New Orleans
- Bally Sports North
- Bally Sports Cleveland
- Bally Sports Oklahoma
- Bally Sports SoCal
- Bally Sports West
- Bally Sports San Diego
- Bally Sports South
- Bally Sports Southeast
- Bally Sports Southwest
- Bally Sports Wisconsin
- Bally Sports Great Lakes
Is Bally Sports available on YouTube TV?
No, currently Bally Sports does not stream on YouTube TV. There also does not seem to be any plans for YouTube streaming in the near future.
Is Bally Sports available on Hulu?
No, Bally Sports is only available via a cable network or satellite service. There has been no information disclosed regarding Bally Sport’s plans for third-party streaming.
So what are your thoughts on Bally Sports? Do let us know in the comments. Take care and stay safe.