|Type||Regional sports network|
|Owner||Sinclair Broadcast Group and Entertainment Studios|
|Parent||Diamond Sports Group|
|Launched||September 7, 1996|
|Bally Sports app||www.ballysports.com/|
(U.S. cable internet subscribers only; requires login from participating providers to stream content; some events may not be available due to league rights restrictions)
|DirecTV Stream||Internet Protocol television|
|FuboTV||Internet Protocol television|
Bally Sports Arizona (BSAZ) is an American regional sports network owned by Diamond Sports Group, a joint venture between Sinclair Broadcast Group and Entertainment Studios, and operates as an affiliate of Bally Sports. The channel broadcasts professional, collegiate and high school sports events, with a primary focus on Phoenix area teams. It is available on most cable providers throughout Arizona; Bally Sports Arizona is also available nationwide on satellite provider DirecTV.
On March 21, 1996, two new expansion teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball and an unnamed National Hockey League franchise from Phoenix (to become known as the Arizona Coyotes) announced 10 year deals with Fox/Liberty Sports. The partnership between News Corporation and Liberty Media had been formed several months earlier. The name for the new network was would have been Prime Sports Arizona, but following the announcement to rebrand Liberty's Prime Sports Networks and form Fox Sports Net, the name was changed to Fox Sports Arizona (FSAZ). The network would be the first to use the new Fox Sports name.
Fox Sports Arizona was launched on September 7, 1996, with the first game on the network being Arizona State University's 45–42 win over its Pac-10 rival, Washington. The first Coyotes game was broadcast on October 18 and the Diamondbacks would finally join the network a year and a half later for their inaugural 1998 season. The Diamondbacks' first appearance would be a spring training game on February 27, 1998. The network also was the first to televise high school football and basketball state championships. In 2003, Fox Sports Arizona acquired rights to the Phoenix Suns which had been televised by Cox Communications on its sports network since 1981.
On December 14, 2017, as part of a merger between both companies, The Walt Disney Company announced plans to acquire all 22 regional Fox Sports networks from 21st Century Fox, including Fox Sports Arizona. However, on June 27, 2018, the Justice Department ordered their divestment under antitrust grounds, citing Disney's ownership of ESPN. On May 3, 2019, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Entertainment Studios (through their joint venture, Diamond Sports Group) bought the Fox Sports Networks from The Walt Disney Company for $10.6 billion. The deal closed on August 22, 2019. On March 31, 2021, coinciding with the start of the 2021 Major League Baseball season, Fox Sports Arizona was rebranded as Bally Sports Arizona, as part of a branding agreement with commercial casino operator Bally's Corporation.
Bally Sports Arizona holds the regional cable television rights to one of the four major professional sports franchises in the Phoenix area: the Arizona Coyotes (NHL, also with rights to most regular season and early-round playoff games), after losing rights to the Phoenix Suns of the NBA and the Arizona Diamondbacks of Major League Baseball in 2023. In addition, Bally Sports Arizona also televises collegiate sports events involving the Arizona State Sun Devils, as well as a number of events from other teams of the Pac-12 Conference.
Fox Sports Arizona formerly held the broadcast rights to select Arizona Wildcats sporting events from its inception until the spring of 2009; the University of Arizona shifted these event telecasts to the Arizona Wildcats Sports Network, beginning in August 2009, which were simulcast on FSA from 2010 until 2012, upon the launch of the Pac-12 Network and its dedicated "Pac-12 Arizona" subfeed network devoted to Arizona and Arizona State University sports.
Further information: Diamond Sports Group § Bankruptcy
On February 15, 2023, Diamond Sports Group, the owner of Bally Sports Arizona, failed to make a $140 million interest payment, instead opting for a 30-day grace period to make the payment. On March 14, 2023, Diamond Sports Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
During its bankruptcy, Diamond has missed a payment to the Arizona Diamondbacks. On April 5, 2023, the Diamondbacks filed an emergency motion asking the bankruptcy judge to order Diamond to pay the Diamondbacks fully or give its media rights back to Major League Baseball. Diamond argued that because of cord-cutting the contract rate for the media rights of the teams was too high. A hearing on the matter was set for May 31, 2023. As an interim, on April 19, the bankruptcy judge ordered Diamond Sports to pay 50% of what the Diamondbacks were owed. On June 1, 2023, after a two day long hearing, the bankruptcy judge ordered Diamond to pay the Diamondbacks fully within five days.
On April 28, 2023, the Phoenix Suns announced that it had signed an agreement with Gray Television to put its regional games on broadcast television, under a five-year agreement for the Suns and a two-year agreement for the Phoenix Mercury, replacing Bally Sports Arizona. Diamond subsequently accused the team of breaching its contract and bankruptcy law. On May 10, 2023, the bankruptcy judge voided the Suns contract with Gray, ruling that the Suns violated Bally Sports Arizona's contractual right of first refusal. He ordered the parties into arbitration. The Phoenix Mercury's deal was not effected. On July 14, the Suns announced that the Gray deal would go ahead, as Diamond Sports Group declined to match the contract.
On June 22, 2023, Diamond Sports announced its intention to reject Bally Sports Arizona's contract with the Diamondbacks on June 30, 2023. On July 18, 2023, Diamond was granted a motion to decline its contract with the team. Major League Baseball subsequently took over production and distribution of Diamondbacks telecasts (not unlike its takeover of a fellow Bally Sports property, the San Diego Padres, in May).
Fox Sports Arizona launched an alternate feed, Fox Sports Arizona Plus, on April 25, 2008. Created as an overflow active only during instances in which a sporting event that Fox Sports Arizona holds rights to overlaps with another game being broadcast on the primary channel, it was established to resolve scheduling conflicts involving the 2008 NBA Playoffs Game 3 matchup between Phoenix Suns and a scheduled Arizona Diamondbacks game on that date. Now branded as Bally Sports Arizona Extra, it's available on many cable providers.
The Bally Sports Arizona Extra brand name was first in use on an additional overflow channel that was used for at least three Diamondbacks games.
In the Southern Arizona region only, including Tucson, Bally Sports Arizona Extra aired San Diego Padres games and related programming produced by its sister-network Bally Sports San Diego to select cable providers in that region until MLB took over that team’s broadcast rights.