The new Bally Sports platform will expand access to games, for a fee – The Rink Live

MINNEAPOLIS – We’re a generation past the days of fumbling through a radio dial trying to find a faint distant signal for a Minnesota Gophers game broadcast while on vacation. Still, the new world of cable, satellite and streaming services, and their ever-changing programming offerings, means that for some viewers, trying to find their local teams on TV has become a challenge.

Starting at the end of September, Bally Sports North will offer a membership solution that they expect will put many of the challenges in the past. On September 26, Bally Sports Plus launches, giving viewers live access to NBA, NHL and college sports.

“We’re really excited. This is an opportunity for us to give consumers more choice in how they access their games,” said Mike Dimond, senior vice president and general manager of BSN. “It’s about reaching people who have either never had access to Bally Sports or who have lost access through their providers – Hulu and Dish Network and others … they can now access the games and they can do it live. – consumer base.”

In recent years there have been numerous complaints about carriers like Hulu, Dish Network, YouTube TV and others dropping regional sports networks from their packages. While DirecTV still carries Bally Sports North, many fans of the Gophers, Wild and Wolves are stuck without access if they’re in a long-term contract with a carrier that doesn’t offer regional games.

The launch of Bally Sports Plus means that for $19.99 per month or $189.99 per year, consumers can purchase direct access to BSN programming to stream on a smartphone, tablet or smart TV. Diamond noted that their programming will include NBA, NHL and college games at launch. There is currently no deal in place to carry Major League Baseball on the new app, but they are hopeful that something can be worked out by the start of the 2023 Twins season.

Temporary snowbird solution

While the Bally Sports Plus app is designed to be used in the customer’s home market, there are some benefits for short-term travelers.

Imagine sitting by a pool in Florida or Arizona in late winter watching that night’s wild game on your iPad. That scenario is possible, at least for a month, with the new app. Everything available on Bally Sports North’s linear channel will be available on the Bally Sports Plus app on an unlimited basis in the channel’s general coverage area (Minnesota and the Dakotas, primarily).

“Let’s say you’re a snowbird and you go to Florida in the winter. You’re going to be able to access (local programming) for 30 days. It’s a pretty good industry standard if you take your device with you,” Dimond said. “On day 31, that device has to come back to this market, and then it resets and you get another 30 days.”

For long-term, out-of-market access to NHL and NBA games, packages such as NHL Center Ice and NBA League Pass are available for purchase that give buyers access to nearly all hockey and baseball games.

In the 1990s, things were much simpler for college hockey fans in the Twin Cities. The Gophers played on Friday and Saturday nights, and the Midwest Sports Channel carried nearly every game. With the move from the now-defunct WCHA to the Big Ten a decade ago, that was no longer the case. Bally Sports North still carries most Gopher games, but airs most of the conference contests on the Big Ten Network. And since carriers have made programming changes, it’s sometimes hard to find gophers on TV. The new app is seen as a solution.

“It’s a great example of the audience we’re trying to reach, serve and give them a choice now,” Diamond said. “We still believe in cable and satellite bundles and we have great partners on a broad basis. But there are others like YouTube and Hulu that have chosen not to carry Bally Sports North and that gives those subscribers the opportunity to access those games live.

Players and coaches from Minnesota State University, Mankato, gathered at Vetter Stone Amphitheater to announce the schedule for Hockey Day Minnesota 2022, which Mankato will host for the first time. Contributed / Bally Sports North

In addition to NBA, NHL and college games, the new app will include hunting and outdoor events, poker and other programming that is popular with some viewers. Dimond also noted that BSN’s coverage of the annual Hockey Day in Minnesota will all be available to stream through Bally Sports Plus.

With this week’s release of the Big Ten hockey schedule, they expect the complete Gopher hockey broadcast schedule for the 2022-23 season on both the Big Ten Network and Bally Sports North to be announced in the coming weeks.

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