Bally Sports Detroit
TypeRegional sports network
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaMichigan
Northeastern Indiana
Northwest Ohio
Northeast Wisconsin
Nationwide (via satellite)
NetworkBally Sports
HeadquartersSouthfield, Michigan
Programming
Language(s)English
Picture format720p (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Ownership
OwnerDiamond Sports Group
ParentSinclair Broadcast Group & Entertainment Studios
History
LaunchedSeptember 17, 1997 (24 years ago) (1997-09-17)
ReplacedPro-Am Sports System
(unrelated/defunct)
Former namesFox Sports Detroit (1997–1999, 2008–2021)
Fox Sports Net Detroit (1999–2004)
FSN Detroit (2004–2008)
Links
Websitewww.ballysports.com/detroit
Availability
Streaming media
Bally Sports appwww.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)
AT&T TV663

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.[1]

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 AT&T TV after network owner Sinclair failed to reach agreements with other streaming services.[2] The network's production facilities and offices are based in Southfield, Michigan,[3] with master control operations based at the headquarters of Bally Sports in Atlanta, Georgia.[4] The network also maintains dedicated remote sets in the concourses of Comerica Park and Little Caesars Arena.

History

Beginnings

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.[5] 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 by 1998, and made a surprise bid for, and won, the local cable television rights to NBA games involving the Detroit Pistons.

Former Fox Sports Detroit logo, used from 2012–2021
Former Fox Sports Detroit logo, used from 2012–2021

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.[6]

Studios

From its launch until January 16, 2008, Fox Sports Detroit broadcast its studio shows out of FSN Northwest's facilities in Bellevue, Washington.[7] 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.[3]

Tigers, Pistons and Red Wings switch to cable full-time

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.[1] 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.[3] In 2010, Central Collegiate Hockey Association (CCHA) and MHSAA games began airing in HD. Today almost all programming is shown in HD.

Detroit Lions coverage added

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.[8] Bally Sports Detroit also airs Lions Live after regular season games, and Monday head coach press conferences.

Change of ownership and rebranding

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.[9]

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.[10] The deal closed on August 22, 2019.[11]

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.[12] 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.[13]

Programming

Local team coverage

Professional teams

Minor league teams

College coverage

High school sports

Weekly shows

Former programs

Specials

Notable on-air staff

Hosts and Reporters

Detroit Tigers

Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Pistons

College/High school Sports

Former personalities

Bally Sports Detroit Girls

Other services

Bally Sports Detroit Plus

Bally Sports Detroit Plus is a game-time only alternate feed of Bally Sports Detroit.[20] 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 Plus 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

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.[21]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Mike Reynolds (March 19, 2008). "FSN Detroit Nets Pro Sports 3 pointer". Multichannel News. Archived from the original on June 16, 2011. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
  2. ^ Sengwe, Stephanie. "Sinclair CEO 'Disappointed' Hulu and YouTube TV Dropped RSNs, May Lead to 10% Drop in Subscriber Revenue". The Streamable. Retrieved 23 March 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Mike Brudenell (October 2, 2009). "New Fox Sports Detroit HD Studio Unveiled Tonight". Detroit Free Press. Gannett Company. Archived from the original on November 25, 2009. Retrieved January 28, 2010 – via CallSam.com.
  4. ^ "Behind the Scenes at Sinclair's New Media Operations Center Powering Bally Sports, Marquee Sports, and YES Network". Sports Video Group. May 25, 2021. Retrieved November 8, 2021.
  5. ^ R. Thomas Umstead (July 8, 1996). "Liberty Sports regionals will become Fox Sports net". Multichannel News. The Walt Disney Company. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved April 7, 2015 – via HighBeam Research.
  6. ^ Richard Sandomir (September 1, 1997). "Broadcast Giants Vie for Control of Regional Sports Markets". The New York Times. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  7. ^ "FSN's York excited to return home". The Detroit News. Gannett Company. Archived from the original on March 24, 2008. Retrieved March 31, 2010 – via SportscastingJobs.com.
  8. ^ a b "FOX Sports Detroit, FOX2 become Lions' official TV partners". Fox Sports. May 21, 2015. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  9. ^ "Disney can buy Fox if it sells 22 regional sports networks, Justice Dept. says". USA Today. June 28, 2018.
  10. ^ Cynthia Littleton (May 3, 2019). "Sinclair Clinches Disney-Regional Sports Networks Deal, Byron Allen Joins as Partner". Variety. Penske Media Corporation.
  11. ^ "Sinclair completes acquisition of regional sports networks from Disney". Bloomberg. 22 August 2019. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  12. ^ Novy-Williams, Eben (2020-11-19). "Bally's Buys Sinclair RSN Naming Rights As Part of Sports Betting Push". Sportico.com. Retrieved 2021-04-01.
  13. ^ Paul, Tony. "FSD becomes Bally Sports Detroit this month; here's what you need to know," The Detroit News, Wednesday, March 17, 2021. Retrieved March 24, 2021
  14. ^ John Johnson (October 4, 2010). "FOX Sports Detroit To Deliver All MHSAA Championships To Cable & Online Audiences". Michigan High School Athletic Association. Retrieved October 5, 2010.
  15. ^ "2014 Michigan Football Broadcast Information". University of Michigan Athletic Department. Archived from the original on June 22, 2017. Retrieved October 16, 2011.
  16. ^ "Men's Basketball Broadcast Information". University of Michigan Athletic Department. Retrieved January 28, 2010.
  17. ^ FS Detroit Staff (August 18, 2011). "FSD enhances prep football coverage". FoxSportsDetroit.com. Archived from the original on July 31, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2011.
  18. ^ "TV & Events Schedule". Yellow Flag Productions, LLC. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  19. ^ ‘A New Day in Detroit’ Fox Sports Detroit official website April 27, 2017
  20. ^ "Fox Sports Detroit Plus information". Fox Sports Detroit. Archived from the original on January 24, 2013. Retrieved November 16, 2010.
  21. ^ Thomas Umstead (August 7, 2009). "Fox Sports, Comcast Put Detroit Tigers Games On Demand". Multichannel News. Archived from the original on August 11, 2009. Retrieved January 28, 2010.