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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.

Bally Sports+ launch Sept. 26 won't include Reds games

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Courtesy Bally Sports
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Bally Sports only has streaming rights for five Major League Baseball clubs, so emphasis will be on NHL and NBA games this fall.


The new Bally Sports+ streaming service for the Greater Cincinnati market will arrive Sept. 26 without the Cincinnati Reds, Bally's biggest Cincinnati professional sports franchise.

The streaming service debut for the 19 regional Bally Sports regional sports networks — owned since 2019 by Sinclair Broadcast Group, parent company of WKRC-TV — is timed for the start of the NHL and NBA seasons. Bally Sports Ohio has cable TV and streaming rights for the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets and NBA Cleveland Cavaliers.

The streaming service will cost $19.99 a month or $189.99 a year, "among the priciest streaming options in the marketplace," Deadline notes. A free seven-day trial is offered.

The Bally Sports regional networks — formerly the Fox Sports network — are "the leading broadcaster of professional sports in the U.S. with 14 MLB teams, 16 NBA teams and 12 NHL teams," according to the Bally Sports' GetMyHomeTeams website.

One reason for the late September launch, 10 days before the baseball playoffs, is that Bally Sports does not have streaming rights for nine of its 14 cable TV baseball teams, including the Reds. And Bally Sports does not have a streaming deal with Major League Baseball for next year, according to the Sports Business Journal.

According to the Bally Sports+ Frequently Asked Questions page, "Bally Sports currently has the rights to stream the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays on Bally Sports+. We are in discussions with MLB and our other MLB team partners to expand our offering next year."

When I asked the Reds to speak to someone about Bally Sports+, I was told to contact Bally Sports. When I asked to speak to someone at Bally Sports about the streaming launch Sept. 26, I was told: "There’s nothing to add at this time outside of what’s been released. When there is new information, I’ll make sure you receive it."

I responded by saying: So I should make clear in my reporting that when Bally Sports launches, it will not include the Reds? To which I received a one-word confirmation: "Correct."

Another thing Reds fans should know: The Bally Sports+ streams are territorial, just like its regional cable TV networks. So Reds fans from Tampa to Tacoma won't have access to the stream. They'll have to follow the Reds on MLB's streaming service for out-of-market live or on-demand games.

"Bally Sports+ is not a standalone app, rather an existing product offering within the Bally Sports app and on BallySports.com," according to the FAQ. "… The Bally Sports+ product is another way to watch your local teams, so the same league territory restrictions apply to out-of-market games."

The Sports Business Journal — citing a report in The Athletic — says Bally Sports+ did a soft launch in five markets in June. Daniel Kaplan reported last week in The Athletic that it "appears clear that subscribers have not signed up in droves for the five streamed RSNs."

The Athletic said that because Bally Sports "has no deal with MLB for next year" that the streamer "could revert in spring 2023 to a more modest package without a baseball signoff."

At the launch, Bally Sports+ direct-to-consumer platform will be available on the web, mobile and tablet (iOS, Android), tvOS, Android TV and Amazon Fire TV. Bally is "working to add additional platforms soon and will notify fans as more become available," the website says.

Bally Sports regional networks have rights to these teams:

MLB: (14) Arizona Diamondbacks, Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, Cleveland Guardians, Kansas City Royals, St. Louse Cardinals, Minnesota Twins, Cincinnati Reds, San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays, Los Angeles Angels, Milwaukee Brewers.

NBA: (16) Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonia Spurts, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks.

NHL: (12) Arizona Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Columbus Blue Jackets, Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, Los Angeles Kings.

Bally Sports' GetMyHomeTeams website says passionate fans make "local sports among the most watched, most valued programming on all of TV." According to Bally, the MLB telecasts on its regional sports networks "are the No. 1 most-watched prime-time programming in many markets, and NBA and NHL telecasts are often the No. 1-rated prime-time programming on cable."

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.