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The Bally Sports Regional Networks[1] are a group of regional sports networks in the United States owned by Diamond Sports Group, a joint-venture company of the Sinclair Broadcast Group and Entertainment Studios. The group is branded after casino operator Bally's Corporation, which purchased its naming rights. Launched on March 31, 2021, the networks carry regional broadcasts of sporting events from various professional, collegiate and high school sports teams. Through 19 owned-and-operated networks and several other affiliates, Bally Sports programming is available to all or part of the 50 states, with the only notable lack of coverage existing in the Philadelphia media market and Northern California.

The networks were formerly known as Fox Sports Networks and operated by News Corporation for most of their existence. They were acquired by Diamond Sports from The Walt Disney Company in 2019, as Disney was required to divest them by the U.S. Department of Justice as a condition of their own acquisition of 21st Century Fox.

History[]

Beginnings[]

Main article: Fox Sports Networks

The networks of Bally Sports have a long history, with the origins of several of the networks dating back to the 1980s and 1990s, as affiliates of the Prime Network (and to a lesser degree SportsChannel). In 1996, News Corporation and Liberty Media (the owner of Prime Network) announced that the Prime Sports networks would be rebranded under the new "Fox Sports Net" brand;[2] the Prime Sports-branded affiliates were officially relaunched as Fox Sports Net on November 1 of that year.[3][4][5] In 1997, News Corp and Liberty Media also purchased a 40% stake in Cablevision's SportsChannel networks which led those networks being rebranded as part of Fox Sports Net in early 1998 and bringing the total number of owned or affiliate networks to 18.[6][7][8][9] In the years that followed, a series of other acquisitions and launches of new networks (along with a few closures) resulted in 22 owned and operated networks.

Acquisition by Diamond Sports Group from Disney[]

On December 14, 2017, The Walt Disney Company announced their intent to acquire 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion after the spin-off of certain businesses into a new entity (initially dubbed "new Fox", but ultimately named Fox Corporation). While the acquisition was originally slated to include Fox Sports' regional operations (which, presumably, would have been re-aligned with Disney's ESPN division),[10][11] the Justice Department ordered that they be divested within 90 days of the completion of the acquisition due to the concentration of the market that ESPN would hold.[12][13]

Sinclair Broadcast Group was mentioned as the most likely buyer for the other FSN networks, but would need the assistance of a private equity firm to help raise the cash needed for the purchase.[14][15] The group's other sports properties included Stadium—a national sports network distributed via over-the-air digital television and internet streaming, Tennis Channel, as well as Marquee—a then-upcoming RSN devoted to the Chicago Cubs.[16]

On May 3, Sinclair officially announced that via its subsidiary Diamond Sports Group, it had agreed to purchase the networks for $10.6 billion, pending regulatory approval. At the same time, it was also revealed that Entertainment Studios would hold an equity stake in the company and serve as a "content partner".[17]

The sale was completed on August 22, 2019 and included 21 of the 22 networks. The networks continued to temporarily use the Fox Sports branding under a transitional license agreement with Fox Corporation; Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley stated that there were plans to eventually rebrand them under either a new name, or to "partner with a brand who wants more exposure". There were also plans to increase non-event programming, and emphasis on sports betting in its programming.[18]

Due to a clause in the original sale,[19] Yankee Global Enterprises had a right of first refusal to purchase Fox's share in YES Network. [20] On August 29, 2019, an investor group including the Yankees, Sinclair, Amazon, and The Blackstone Group purchased Disney's 80% stake in the network for $3.47 billion.[21] Sinclair's share of the network is 20%.[22]

FuboTV dropped the channels in January 2020,[23] and YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV followed in October 2020.[24][25]

Partnership with Bally's[]

On November 4, 2020, Sinclair took a $4.23 billion write-down on the FSN purchase.[26]

On November 17, 2020, it was reported by Sportico that Sinclair was considering rebranding the networks via a naming rights agreement, and was reportedly in talks with multiple companies involved in sports betting.[27] The next day, Sinclair announced that it had entered into an agreement with casino operator Bally's Corporation to acquire the naming rights under a 10-year deal. This agreement will include integration of Bally's content on the channels and other Sinclair properties (including its television stations, Stadium, and Tennis Channel), and a warrant giving Sinclair the option to acquire a 14.9% stake in Bally's Corporation, and up to 24.9% if performance criteria is met.[28]

Sinclair announced in December 2020 that it plans to launch its own direct-to-consumer Bally's-branded streaming service, including live streaming of its linear sports networks, in 2021.[29]

Rebranding as Bally Sports[]

On January 27, 2021, Sinclair announced that the networks would be rebranded as Bally Sports on March 31.[30] Fox Sports Carolinas and Fox Sports Tennessee were discontinued, with any unique sports programming moved to the Bally Sports South and Southeast channels. To better reflect their target markets, Prime Ticket and SportsTime Ohio were also rebranded as Bally Sports SoCal and Bally Sports Great Lakes, respectively.[31][32]

In preparation for the rebrand, new studio sets were constructed at all of FSN's outlets, while Drive Studio produced a new on-air graphics package for the networks (building upon work it had already done for Marquee). On-air graphics feature a new consistent scorebug in the bottom-left of the screen, which is combined into the ticker. Executive vice president Michael Connelly explained that the setup was designed to eventually allow for the integration of sports betting-related information such as lines and props.[33][34]

On Opening Day, the newly-rebranded channels aired a joint special, Bally Sports Big Opening Day. It was produced by Stadium, hosted by Michael Kim, Bally Sports SoCal’s Kristina Pink and Bally Sports Southeast’s Eric Collins, and featured coverage of teams and events across Bally Sports and Sinclair's sports networks.[35]

Networks[]

Owned-and-operated[]

Network Region served Formerly
operated as
Notes
Bally Sports Arizona Arizona
New Mexico
Utah
Southern Nevada
Prime Sports Arizona (1996)
Fox Sports Arizona (1996–2021)
Bally Sports Detroit Michigan
Northwestern Ohio
Northeastern Indiana
Northeast Wisconsin
Fox Sports Detroit (1997–2021)
Bally Sports Florida Florida SportsChannel Florida (1987–2000)
Fox Sports Florida (2000–2021)
Bally Sports Great Lakes Ohio
Northwestern Pennsylvania
Southwestern New York
parts of Kentucky & West Virginia
SportsTime Ohio (2006–2021)
Bally Sports Indiana Indiana Fox Sports Indiana (2006–2021) Shares programming with sister network Bally Sports Midwest
Bally Sports Kansas City Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas
Fox Sports Kansas City (2008–2021) Kansas City Royals have a minority interest. Shares programming with sister network Bally Sports Midwest.
Bally Sports Midwest Missouri
southern Illinois
Iowa
Nebraska
Prime Sports Midwest (1989–1996)
Fox Sports Midwest (1996–2021)
St. Louis Cardinals have 30% equity stake. Shares programming with sister networks Bally Sports Indiana and Bally Sports Kansas City.
Bally Sports New Orleans Louisiana Fox Sports New Orleans (2012–2021) Carries programming from sister network Bally Sports Southwest.
Bally Sports North Minnesota
Wisconsin
Iowa
North Dakota
South Dakota
Midwest Sports Channel (1989–2001)
Fox Sports North (2001–2021)
Bally Sports Ohio Ohio
Kentucky
Eastern Indiana
Northeastern Pennsylvania
Southwestern New York
parts of West Virginia
SportsChannel Ohio (1989–1998)
Fox Sports Ohio (1998–2021)
Separate subfeeds exist for the Cincinnati and Cleveland markets with the Reds having partial ownership in the Cincinnati feed of the network.
Bally Sports Oklahoma Oklahoma Fox Sports Oklahoma (2008–2021) Carries programming from sister network Bally Sports Southwest.
Bally Sports San Diego San Diego Fox Sports San Diego (2012–2021) San Diego Padres have 20% equity stake. Carries programming from sister network Bally Sports SoCal.
Bally Sports SoCal Southern California
Southern Nevada
Hawaii
Fox Sports West 2 (1997–2006)
Prime Ticket (2006–2021)
Bally Sports South Georgia
Alabama
Kentucky
Mississippi
North Carolina
South Carolina
Tennessee
SportSouth (1990–1996)
Fox Sports South (1996–2021)
Shares broadcast rights with sister network Bally Sports Southeast.
Bally Sports Southeast Georgia
Alabama
Mississippi
South Carolina
Tennessee
Western North Carolina
Turner South (1999–2006)
SportSouth (2006–2015)
Fox Sports Southeast (2015–2021)
Shares broadcast rights with sister network Bally Sports South.
Bally Sports Southwest Texas
Arkansas
northern Louisiana
parts of New Mexico
Home Sports Entertainment (1983–1994)
Prime Sports Southwest (1994–1996)
Fox Sports Southwest (1996–2021)
Texas Rangers have 10% equity stake.
Bally Sports Sun Florida Sunshine Network (1988–2004)
Sun Sports (2004–2015)
Fox Sports Sun (2015–2021)
Shares broadcast rights with sister network Bally Sports Florida.
Bally Sports West Southern California
Southern Nevada
Hawaii
Prime Ticket (1985–1994)
Prime Sports West (1994–1996)
Fox Sports West (1996–2021)
Los Angeles Angels have 25% equity stake.
Bally Sports Wisconsin Wisconsin
western Upper Peninsula of Michigan
eastern Minnesota
northwestern Illinois
Iowa
Fox Sports Wisconsin (2007–2021) Carries some programming from sister network Bally Sports North. Brewers obtained minority interest in 2021.

Affiliates[]

Network Region served Formerly
operated as
Notes
AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh Pennsylvania
West Virginia
parts of Maryland, Kentucky, and Ohio
KBL Entertainment Network (1986–1994)
Prime Sports KBL (1994–1996)
Fox Sports Pittsburgh (1996–2011)
Root Sports Pittsburgh (2011–2017)
AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain/Rocky Mountain West Colorado
New Mexico
Nevada
Utah
Wyoming
parts of Arizona, California, Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakota
Prime Sports Network (1988–1990)
Prime Sports Rocky Mountain (1990–1996)
Fox Sports Rocky Mountain (1996–2011)
Root Sports Rocky Mountain (2011–2017)
Marquee Sports Network Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
parts of Wisconsin
Co-owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group and Chicago Cubs.
Mid-Atlantic Sports Network Maryland
Washington, D.C.
Delaware
North Carolina
Virginia
South Central Pennsylvania
parts of West Virginia
New England Sports Network Massachusetts
eastern and central Connecticut
Maine
New Hampshire
Rhode Island
Vermont
Root Sports Northwest Washington
Alaska
Montana
Oregon
Western Idaho
Northwest Cable Sports (1988–1990)
Prime Sports Northwest (1990–1996)
Fox Sports Northwest (1996–2011)
YES Network New York
northern New Jersey
northeast Pennsylvania
southern Connecticut
Sinclair Broadcast Group has 20% ownership.

Teams by network[]

Network MLB NBA NHL Other Teams from neighboring networks
(Availability may be limited)
Bally Sports Arizona Arizona Diamondbacks Phoenix Suns Arizona Coyotes Phoenix Mercury (WNBA)
Bally Sports Detroit Detroit Tigers Detroit Pistons Detroit Red Wings Detroit Lions (NFL)*
Bally Sports Florida Miami Marlins Orlando Magic Florida Panthers
Bally Sports Great Lakes Cleveland Indians Columbus Crew SC (MLS)
Cleveland Browns (NFL)*
Bally Sports Indiana Indiana Pacers Indiana Fever (WNBA) Cincinnati Reds (MLB) (Ohio)
Detroit Pistons (Detroit)
St. Louis Blues (Midwest)
St. Louis Cardinals (Midwest)
Bally Sports Kansas City Kansas City Royals Sporting Kansas City (MLS) Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA) (North)
St. Louis Blues (NHL) (Midwest)
Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA) (Oklahoma)
Bally Sports Midwest St. Louis Cardinals St. Louis Blues Kansas City Royals (MLB) (Kansas City)
Minnesota Timberwolves (NBA) (North)
Indiana Pacers (NBA) (Indiana)
Memphis Grizzlies (NBA) (Southeast)
Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA) (Oklahoma)
Bally Sports New Orleans New Orleans Pelicans Dallas Stars (Southwest)
Texas Rangers (Southwest)
Bally Sports North Minnesota Twins Minnesota Timberwolves Minnesota Wild Minnesota Lynx (WNBA)
Minnesota Vikings (NFL)*
Minnesota United FC (MLS)
Bally Sports Ohio Cincinnati Reds Cleveland Cavaliers Columbus Blue Jackets Columbus Crew SC (MLS)
Bally Sports Oklahoma Oklahoma City Thunder Dallas Stars (Southwest)
Texas Rangers (Southwest)
St. Louis Cardinals (Midwest)
Bally Sports San Diego San Diego Padres Anaheim Ducks (SoCal)
Los Angeles Clippers (SoCal)
Los Angeles FC (SoCal)
Bally Sports SoCal Los Angeles Angels Los Angeles Clippers Anaheim Ducks
Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles Rams (NFL)*
Los Angeles FC (MLS)
Bally Sports South Atlanta Braves Carolina Hurricanes
Nashville Predators
Atlanta Dream (WNBA)
Atlanta United FC (MLS)
Cincinnati Reds (MLB) (Ohio)
Indiana Pacers (NBA) (Indiana)
New Orleans Pelicans (NBA) (New Orleans)
St. Louis Cardinals (MLB) (Midwest)
Bally Sports Southeast Atlanta Braves Atlanta Hawks
Charlotte Hornets
Memphis Grizzlies
Atlanta Dream (WNBA)
Atlanta United FC (MLS)
St. Louis Cardinals (MLB) (Midwest)
Bally Sports Southwest Texas Rangers Dallas Mavericks
San Antonio Spurs
Dallas Stars Memphis Grizzlies (NBA) (Southeast)
Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA) (Oklahoma)
Bally Sports Sun Tampa Bay Rays Miami Heat Tampa Bay Lightning Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL)*
Bally Sports West Los Angeles Angels Los Angeles Clippers† Anaheim Ducks†
Los Angeles Kings
Bally Sports Wisconsin Milwaukee Brewers Milwaukee Bucks Minnesota Wild (NHL) (North)
Minnesota United FC (MLS) (North)
Affiliates
AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pirates Pittsburgh Penguins
AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain Colorado Rockies Utah Jazz Vegas Golden Knights
Marquee Sports Network Chicago Cubs
Mid-Atlantic Sports Network Baltimore Orioles
Washington Nationals
New England Sports Network Boston Red Sox Boston Bruins
Root Sports Northwest Seattle Mariners Seattle Kraken Seattle Seahawks (NFL)*
Portland Timbers (MLS)
YES Network New York Yankees Brooklyn Nets New York City FC (MLS)
New York Liberty (WNBA)

*team-related shows and/or replays only
†occasional games

See also[]

  • Bally Sports app

References[]

  1. Bally Sports Regional Networks
  2. "FOX GIVES NEW NAME TO SPORTS ALLIANCE: FOX SPORTS NET", July 3, 1996. 
  3. R. Thomas Umstead (July 8, 1996). Liberty Sports regionals will become Fox Sports net.
  4. "FOX SPORTS NET DEBUTS ON NOV. 1", September 13, 1996. 
  5. "FOX SPORTS NET ANNOUNCES DEBUT FOR NOVEMBER 1", September 13, 1996. 
  6. "Fox putting together national Sports Net // Changes ahead for SportsChannel", June 24, 1997. 
  7. John M. Higgins. "National net keys regional deal. (Fox Sports, Liberty Media Corp. challenge ESPN with stake in SportsChannel)", June 30, 1997. 
  8. "SPORTS LANDSCAPE ALTERED WITH FOX/LIBERTY-CABLEVISION DEAL", June 23, 1997. 
  9. John M. Higgins (June 23, 1997). TCI/News Corp. $850M SportsChannel deal close. (Tele-Communications Inc, proposed acquisition of cable sports network).
  10. Ben Munson (December 6, 2017). Disney's pursuit of Fox RSNs could be big boost for ESPN.
  11. Goldman, David. "Disney buys 21st Century Fox: Who gets what", CNNMoney, 2017-12-14. 
  12. Littleton, Cynthia (June 27, 2018). Justice Department Approves Disney's Acquisition of 21st Century Fox With Divestiture of Regional Sports Networks. Variety.
  13. Disney wins US antitrust approval to buy Fox assets. CNBC (June 27, 2018).
  14. Wilen, Holden. "Sinclair Broadcast CEO eyes deal for Fox's regional sports networks", Baltimore Business Journal, American Business Journals, Oct 3, 2018. 
  15. "Sinclair Considers Private Equity to Purchase Fox Sports Networks", insideradio.com, 2018-10-03. 
  16. Rosenthal, Phil. The Cubs are starting a new TV channel in 2020. Here's what that means for fans. (en-US).
  17. Littleton, Cynthia (May 3, 2019). Sinclair Clinches Disney-Regional Sports Networks Deal, Byron Allen Joins as Partner (en).
  18. Sinclair CEO see 'massive opportunity' with rebranding of Fox sports networks.
  19. Soshnick, Scott (June 14, 2018). Yankees Consider Buying Back YES If Fox Sells Assets. Bloomberg L.P..
  20. Sports Channels Draw Interest From Private Equity, 'New Fox' and Ice Cube. The Wall Street Journal (October 30, 2018).
  21. "Disney sells its stake in YES Network to investor group that includes Amazon in $3.47 billion deal", CNBC, 29 August 2019. (en) 
  22. "Sinclair Acquires 20% Interest In YES Network", www.prnewswire.com, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Aug 29, 2019. (en) 
  23. Sinclair’s Fox RSNs dropped by FuboTV - Sam Carp, SportsPro, 2 January 2020
  24. YouTube TV Is Dropping Fox Regional Sports Nets, YES Network After Sinclair Standoff - Todd Spangler, Variety, 27 February 2020
  25. Bumbaca, Chris. Hulu drops Sinclair Broadcast Group's Fox Sports Regional Networks, including YES.
  26. Sinclair Posts Higher Political Ad Revenue, Takes $4.2B Local Sports Charge.
  27. Feldman, Eben Novy-Williams,Jacob (2020-11-17). Sinclair Exploring Sale of RSN Naming Rights to Betting Companies (en-US).
  28. Novy-Williams, Eben (2020-11-19). Bally's Buys Sinclair RSN Naming Rights As Part of Sports Betting Push (en-US).
  29. "Sinclair Offers Direct-To-Consumer Sports Streaming Service", Gambling News, December 2, 2021. 
  30. Bally Sports, Coming March 31. YouTube (Fox Sports Midwest) (March 18, 2021).
  31. Balderston, Michael (2021-01-27). Sinclair, Bally Reveal Bally Sports Rebrand for RSNs (en).
  32. Farewell, Fox Sports West. Hello, Bally Sports (en-US) (2020-11-19).
  33. Editor, Jason Dachman, Chief. How Sinclair Pulled Off the Gargantuan Bally Sports Networks Rebrand Amid the Pandemic (en).
  34. Yellon, Al (2021-04-09). Some thoughts about Marquee Sports Network’s new scorebox and scoreboxes in general (en).
  35. "How Sinclair Pulled Off the Gargantuan Bally Sports Networks Rebrand Amid the Pandemic", Sports Video Group, March 30, 2021. (en) 

External links[]

  • [www.ballysports.com/ Official website]
This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Bally Sports. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Ice Hockey Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License 3.0 (Unported) (CC-BY-SA).


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