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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media – comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Local media is still his beat and he’s bringing his interest, curiosity, contacts and unique style to Cincinnati Public Radio and 91.7 WVXU. Contact John at johnkiese@yahoo.com.

Big changes coming to how Cincinnati Reds and Ohio State Buckeyes fans can watch games

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John Kiesewetter
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Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks, has simulcast the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day game on its WKRC-TV for years.

Big changes are coming to how Cincinnati Reds and Ohio State Buckeyes fans can watch baseball, football and basketball games.

In what Deadline.com calls "a milestone in the sports media business," Sinclair Broadcast Group's regional Bally Sports division will launch a nationwide direct-to-consumer streaming service called Bally Sports+ on Sept. 26.

And starting in 2023, after the Big Ten Conference contract with ESPN ends, fans will see more basketball and football games on Fox Sports and CBS Sports, plus on CBS' Paramount+ streaming service. NBC and its Peacock streaming service also will add a Saturday night football package and nearly four dozen basketball games.

Here are the deals:

BALLY SPORTS+: According to Deadline, Bally Sports+ streaming will cost $19.99 a month or $189.99 a year, "among the priciest streaming options in the marketplace. But the company expects many diehard sports fans lacking pay-TV subscriptions to pony up to watch their local teams."

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Bally's 19 regional sports networks — bought from Fox Sports in 2019 — carry the Reds and other MLB teams; the Columbus Blue Jackets and other NHL teams; the Cleveland Cavaliers and other NBA teams; plus a variety of college sports.

Bally Sports+ will be available on mobile and tablet devices operating on iOS or Android, Android TV, TvOS, and BallySports.com, Deadline says. "Yet to be accounted for are Roku and Amazon Fire TV, two significant gateways for streaming in the U.S. Shoring up digital distribution will be a priority for (Sinclair) given that sizable pay-TV operators like Dish Network and YouTube TV have been at an impasse with the company, leaving the Bally networks dark on those major hubs."

The launch "represents the biggest test to date of whether the lucrative legacy model of regional sports networks can be transferred to the digital age … (as) the company is transitioning from the long-established model of pay-TV — in which operators would charge fees to customers seeking access to RSNs (regional sports networks) — to a direct-to-consumer model," Deadline says.

Read more at Deadline here.

BIG TEN CONFERENCE: Big Ten football games, which have aired on ABC since 1966 and on ESPN since the early 1980s, are ending its run on those networks after next season. Instead, the conference has expanded its deal with Fox, and added football to its 32-year basketball partnership with CBS.

SEC football games, which have aired for years on CBS, move to ESPN in 2024.

Starting next year, Fox Sports gets additional football and men’s basketball games on Fox, FS1 and its Big Ten Network. Fox gets "upgraded picks" for its Saturday noon game of the week; more football games for its group of networks; rights to air Big Ten football games later on Saturdays "with the addition of UCLA and USC to the Big Ten Conference"; and four of the next seven Big Ten Football Championship games.

Fox also has rights to more than 200 men's basketball games each year on its network.

The network also announced that its Big Noon Kickoff 10 a.m. pregame show for the first time will travel each week of the football season to college campuses, as ESPN College GameDay has done for years.

Read the Fox announcement here.

Under the new seven-year CBS Sports' multiplatform agreement for football and basketball, every CBS game in the package will air on CBS Television and also stream live on Paramount+ from 2023 through the 2029-30 season.

Starting in 2023, CBS will broadcast a Big Ten football game — instead of SEC games — every Saturday at 3:30 p.m. The Big Ten Football Championship Game will air on CBS and stream live on Paramount+ in 2024 and 2028.

The new deal also "extends CBS Sports’ 32-year partnership with the Big Ten for regular-season basketball, with an increased number of games on the schedule beginning with the 2024 season and continuing through the remainder of the deal. CBS Sports will present both the men’s and women’s championship games each season, along with the men’s semi-final games," CBS says.

Read the CBS announcement here.

NBC will produce 14-to-16 games for broadcast television and simulcast them on Peacock on Saturday nights. The streamer also will carry up to 47 regular-season men’s basketball games (32 conference and 15 non-conference) and 30 regular-season women’s basketball games (20 conference and 10 non-conference).

Read the Big Ten announcement here.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.