TV Answer Man, I’ve read your stories about Bally Sports starting an app for cord cutters. But my question is can anyone get it? Do you have to live in certain areas? Or will it be available nationally? — Marty, Fairfax, Virginia.
Marty, Sinclair, the owner of the 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks (RSNs), has said it plans to launch an app that will allow fans to subscribe directly to its Bally Sports broadcasts without a subscription to a pay TV service such as cable or satellite.
The app, which is expected to be available next month, will begin with the live games of five MLB teams (likely: Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays) and Sinclair hopes to add more in the fall when it will also add 16 NBA and 12 NHL teams. (Sinclair has the regional pay TV rights to 14 MLB teams, but it says it only has secured the streaming rights to the five teams thus far.)
The app’s cost will be $19.99 a month or $189.99 a year. But will just anyone be able to purchase a subscription and watch the games?
The answer is no.
The Bally Sports games will only be available in markets where Sinclair has the regional rights for a specific team. For instance, in the Detroit market, you will be able to purchase a subscription to watch the Tigers, but not the Royals or any other team. Similarly, if you outside a Bally Sports market, you won’t be able to watch any game on the app.
How can you tell if you live in a Bally Sports market?
It’s easy. Go to Bally’s web site, GetMyHomeTeams.com, and type in your zip code. For instance, let’s use a zip code for Scottsdale, Arizona, 85054. When you type in that zip code in the ‘Find Your TV Provider’ box, you’ll see that Bally Sports Arizona is available there. The channel broadcasts the games of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns and Arizona Coyotes. And if Bally Sports can secure the rights to stream the Diamondbacks by this fall, their games as well as the Suns and Coyotes will be available on the app.
However, if you type in the zip code of Fairfax, Virginia, 22030, you’ll see that Bally Sports is not available, on a pay TV service or the upcoming app. If you want to watch the out-of-market games, you’ll have to subscribe to a pay package such as MLB.TV or NBA League Pass.
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Marty, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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If this is going to be available next month, where’s the promotional campaign? If they want to capture the Dish and streaming customers that can’t watch their RSN’s, wouldn’t they be rolling out the ads now to get an early start to recoup their rights fee investments? Methinks someone is blowing smoke.