TV Answer Man, I cut the cord and got rid of DIRECTV last winter. But I want to watch the Tampa Bay Rays on TV. How can I do that without getting cable or DIRECTV again? — John, East Hillsborough, Florida.
John, Bally Sports Sun is the TV home of the Tampa Bay Rays and it’s available in different parts of the Tampa market on such traditional pay TV services as DIRECTV, Comcast, and Charter’s Spectrum TV.
But what if you dropped your cable, telco or satellite service? Is there any way to keep watching the underdog and overachieving Rays?
Bally Sports Sun is available in the Tampa market on DIRECTV Stream, the multi-channel live streaming service. But if you’re considering subscribing to DIRECTV Stream to watch your fave Rays, take note that you will need a Choice plan or above to get Bally Sports Sun in your programming plan. DIRECTV Stream’s Choice package costs $89.99 a month, but the streamer is now running a special $10 off the first three months promotion which would bring the price down to $79.99 until July. (The promotion offer is scheduled to end on April 30.)
The other major streamers, Hulu Live, Sling TV, FuboTV and YouTube TV, do not carry Bally Sports Sun.
There is one other way to watch the Rays via streaming in the Tampa market. You could install a VPN on your streaming device and/or router which disguises your location. That would allow you to subscribe to MLB TV for $139.99 and watch your favorite home team in your market without blackouts. If that sounds ethically or legally sketchy, read our article on Major League Baseball’s latest position on VPNs and MLB.TV.
One last note: Sinclair, which owns the Bally Sports regional sports networks, is planning to launch a standalone app this season that would allow you to subscribe directly to your in-market Bally Sports team without a subscription to a cable, satellite, telco or live streaming service. However, Sinclair has not said exactly when the app will launch, only that it will be sometime during the second quarter which ends on June 30.
The good news, though, is that the Tampa Bay games will be available at launch, one of five Bally Sports MLB teams that will be. Sinclair is hoping to secure deals with the remaining MLB teams later in the season.
John, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann