|Type||Regional sports network|
Nationwide (via satellite)
|Picture format||720p (HDTV)|
|Owner||Diamond Sports Group|
|Parent||Sinclair Broadcast Group & Entertainment Studios|
|Launched||September 17, 1997|
|Replaced||Pro-Am Sports System|
|Former names||Fox Sports Detroit (1997–1999, 2008–2021)|
Fox Sports Net Detroit (1999–2004)
FSN Detroit (2004–2008)
(Some events may air on overflow feed Bally Sports Detroit Extra due to event conflicts)
|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|
Bally Sports Detroit (BSD) is an American regional sports network owned by Diamond Sports Group that operates as a Bally Sports affiliate. It provides coverage of local sports teams in the state of Michigan, primarily focusing on those in Metro Detroit. The network airs exclusive broadcasts of games involving the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Pistons, and Detroit Red Wings; repeats of Detroit Lions preseason games; and some state college and high school sports.
Bally Sports Detroit is available on cable television throughout Michigan, as well as in northeastern Indiana, northwest Ohio and some portions of northeastern Wisconsin and nationwide on satellite via DirecTV. Bally Sports Detroit is available for streaming only through DirecTV Stream after network owner Sinclair failed to reach agreements with other streaming services. The network's production facilities and offices are based in Southfield, Michigan, with master control operations based at the headquarters of Bally Sports in Atlanta, Georgia. The network also maintains dedicated remote sets in the concourses of Comerica Park and Little Caesars Arena.
Bally Sports Detroit traces its origins to 1996, when News Corporation purchased 50% of the Prime Network, a group of regional sports networks owned by Liberty Media, and immediately rebranded them under the "Fox Sports Net" banner. At the time of the purchase, Post-Newsweek Stations (owners of Detroit NBC affiliate WDIV-TV, channel 4) owned the Detroit-based Pro-Am Sports System (PASS Sports), which served the local affiliate of the Prime Network. News Corporation announced plans to launch a Fox Sports Net affiliate in Michigan, and made a surprise bid for, and won, the local cable television rights to NBA games involving the Detroit Pistons.
When PASS Sports' respective National Hockey League and Major League Baseball broadcast rights to the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers franchises came up for renewal, Fox Sports Net made a bid for the contracts and won them both. Fox Sports decided to push the launch date of the new channel forward in time for the beginning of the 1997–98 NHL season and 1998 MLB season; Fox Sports Detroit began broadcasting on September 17, 1997. Post-Newsweek, meanwhile, concluded that its coverage area was not large enough to support two RSNs and sold the remainder of its Tigers and Pistons contracts, and the contract of sportscaster John Keating, to Fox Sports Detroit. Post-Newsweek shut down PASS Sports on October 31, 1997, leaving Fox Sports Detroit as the sole regional sports network in Michigan.
From its launch until January 16, 2008, Fox Sports Detroit broadcast its studio shows out of FSN Northwest's facilities in Bellevue, Washington. On October 1, 2009, the network unveiled a new all-digital high definition-capable studio in its Southfield headquarters dubbed the "Call Sam Studio", named after its sponsor, the Sam Bernstein Law Firm. It serves as the production base of the pre-game/post-game shows Tigers Live, Pistons Live and Red Wings Live, as well the magazine shows of all three teams and all of the channel's other local programming. It was expected that 80% of the shows produced from the studio would be produced and broadcast in HD. The first program to originate from the new studio was Wingspan, a special previewing the 2009–10 Red Wings season, on October 1.
The channel shared professional team coverage rights with some Detroit area broadcast television stations until the spring of 2008. In March 2008, the channel signed new long-term contracts with the Pistons, Red Wings and Tigers to broadcast more games than in previous years, becoming the exclusive local home of all three teams for the first time until at least 2018. This leaves only the NFL's Detroit Lions as the only local professional sports team in Detroit to have all of its games on broadcast television.
Around this time a 720p high definition simulcast feed of Fox Sports Detroit was launched. It telecasts all Detroit Pistons, Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers games in HD, their respective pre-game and post-game shows and team magazine shows, as well as all college and high school games and programs. Wingspan became the first locally produced pre-recorded program to be broadcast in HD when it began in 2009. In 2010, Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and MHSAA games began airing in HD. Today almost all programming is shown in HD.
On May 21, 2015, the Detroit Lions announced a multi-year broadcast partnership with Fox Sports Detroit and WJBK (Fox 2). Fox Sports Detroit produces the preseason game broadcasts with Fox 2 producing the pre-game and post-game segments. The games air live on Fox 2 and the rest of the Detroit Lions Television Network, with re-airings on Bally Sports Detroit. Bally Sports Detroit also airs Lions Live after regular season games, and Monday head coach press conferences.
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 Detroit. However, on June 27, 2018, the Justice Department ordered their divestment under antitrust grounds, citing Disney's ownership of ESPN Inc.
On May 3, 2019, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Entertainment Studios (through their joint venture, Diamond Sports Group) bought Fox Sports Networks from The Walt Disney Company for $10.6 billion. The deal closed on August 22, 2019.
On November 17, 2020, Sinclair announced an agreement with casino operator Bally's Corporation to serve as a new naming rights partner for the FSN channels. Sinclair announced the new Bally Sports branding for the channels on January 27, 2021. On March 31, 2021, coinciding with the 2021 Major League Baseball season, Fox Sports Detroit was rebranded as Bally Sports Detroit, along with 18 other regional sports networks following suit in their respective regions.
Bally Sports Detroit Extra is a game-time only alternate feed of Bally Sports Detroit that was originally branded as Fox Sports Detroit Plus. It was launched in 2007 to solve scheduling conflicts, such as those of the Detroit Tigers, Pistons and Red Wings, as well as CCHA games, MHSAA finals for football and basketball, and The Mid-American Conference basketball tournament (via Bally Sports Ohio). It is frequently used for live college football, college basketball, college baseball and tennis telecasts and other events distributed nationally by FSN, to avoid conflicts with local coverage.
Bally Sports Detroit Extra has been used for special alternate feeds of local games, such as the annual "¡Fiesta Tigres!" game which celebrates Latin American players, in which alternate announcers conducted Spanish language play-by-play; a "Position-by-position" Tigers game, with the camera isolating on a different defensive player every inning featuring John Keating on play-by-play; as well as a "Social networking" Tigers telecast in which the channel's staff answered viewer questions from Facebook, Twitter, and their own website.
Fox Sports Detroit On Demand was the video on demand service of Fox Sports Detroit, which is currently available on Comcast. Launched in October 2008, its offerings include the channel's magazine and coach's shows, which are presented commercial-free. On August 7, 2009, Fox Sports Detroit On Demand began carrying full-length presentations of the channel's Tigers game broadcasts.