Bally Sports Great Lakes
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaCleveland/Northern Ohio
Central Ohio
Northwestern Pennsylvania
Southwest New York
National (via satellite)
NetworkBally Sports
HeadquartersCleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Programming
Language(s)English
Picture format720p (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Ownership
OwnerDiamond Sports Group (a joint venture of Sinclair Broadcast Group and Entertainment Studios)
Sister channelsBally Sports Ohio
History
LaunchedMarch 12, 2006 (18 years ago) (2006-03-12)
Former namesSportsTime Ohio (2006–2021)
Links
Websitewww.ballysports.com/ohio-greatlakes/
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)
DirecTV StreamInternet Protocol television
FuboTVInternet Protocol television

Bally Sports Great Lakes is an American regional sports network owned by Diamond Sports Group, and operates as an affiliate of Bally Sports. The channel, which is a sister network to Bally Sports Ohio, broadcasts statewide coverage of professional, collegiate and high school sports events throughout northern Ohio, including the Cleveland area.

Bally Sports Great Lakes is available from most cable providers in Northeast Ohio and select providers in other portions of Ohio (including Columbus), Northwest Pennsylvania, and extreme Western New York. It is also available nationwide on satellite via DirecTV, as well as outside Ohio on AT&T U-verse.

History

Bally Sports Great Lakes was launched on March 12, 2006, as SportsTime Ohio; it was founded by the family of Cleveland Indians owner Larry Dolan, becoming the second regional sports network in the Cleveland area, after Fox Sports Ohio (which launched in February 1989 as SportsChannel Ohio). SportsTime Ohio assumed the regional cable television rights to Major League Baseball games involving the Indians from Fox Sports Ohio, which had served as the exclusive local broadcaster of the Indians from 2002 to 2005, when it was majority-owned by Cablevision Systems Corporation (a New York-based company owned by Dolan's brother, Charles) until an asset trade with then-Fox Sports Net parent News Corporation who also owned 20th Century Fox and Fox News. Jim Liberatore, former President of Fox Sports owned Speed Channel helped start the network and served as its first President. His knowledge of the cable industry served a vital role in the success the network enjoyed while so many other team facilitated network launches failed across the country.

Starting off as rivals with Gannett-owned WKYC providing studio operations for the cable channel, the two networks would soon become corporate sisters, when on December 3, 2012, the Indians announced that it would sell SportsTime Ohio to Fox Sports Ohio parent Fox Entertainment Group. The deal was finalized four weeks later on December 28.[1] Fox retained SportsTime Ohio's existing staff despite coming under common ownership with Fox Sports Ohio, with Katie Witham becoming a traveling reporter with the team. Now under new ownership, the network became a member of Fox Sports Networks.

Fox logo as SportsTime Ohio

In April 2013, at the beginning of the 2013 Major League Baseball season, SportsTime Ohio transitioned to the Fox Sports branding and imagery, but maintained the SportsTime Ohio branding (following the model of FSN's similar secondary channels Sun Sports, SportSouth, and Prime Ticket).[2]

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 SportsTime Ohio, sister network Fox Sports Ohio, and Fox's 50% stake in the network's Cincinnati sub-feed. However, on June 27, 2018, the Justice Department ordered their divestment under antitrust grounds, citing Disney's ownership of ESPN.[3] On May 3, 2019, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Entertainment Studios (through their joint venture, Diamond Holdings) bought Fox Sports Networks from The Walt Disney Company for $10.6 billion. The deal closed on August 22, 2019, thus putting SportsTime Ohio and Fox Sports Ohio under common ownership with several Sinclair stations in Ohio, which include WSYX/WTTE/WWHO in Columbus, WKRC-TV/WSTR-TV in Cincinnati, WNWO-TV in Toledo, WKEF/WRGT-TV in Dayton, and WTOV-TV in Steubenville, Ohio.[4][5][6][7] The deal also marked Sinclair's entry into Northeast Ohio, where its nearest existing broadcasting properties are WSYX/WTTE/WWHO, WNWO, WTOV and WPGH-TV/WPNT in Pittsburgh.

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.[8] Sinclair announced the new Bally Sports branding for the channels on January 27, 2021. On March 31, 2021, coinciding with the start of the 2021 Major League Baseball season, SportsTime Ohio was rebranded as Bally Sports Great Lakes,[9] with all other former Fox Sports Networks also rebranded as "Bally Sports" accompanied by a regional description appropriate for each network.[10] The first live sporting event to air on Bally Sports Great Lakes under the Bally banner was the opening-day coverage of the Indians visiting the Tigers on April 1, which was preceded up by the Indians Live pregame show.[11]

Bankruptcy

Further information: Diamond Sports Group § Bankruptcy

On February 15, 2023, Diamond Sports Group, the owner of Bally Sports Great Lakes, failed to make a $140 million interest payment, instead opting for a 30-day grace period to make the payment.[12] On March 14, 2023, Diamond Sports Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.[13]

During its bankruptcy, Diamond missed a payment to the Cleveland Guardians.[14] On April 5, 2023, Major League Baseball, on behalf of the Guardians, filed an emergency motion asking the bankruptcy judge to order Diamond to pay the Guardians fully or give its media rights back to the MLB. 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.[15] As an interim, on April 19, the bankruptcy judge ordered Diamond Sports to pay 50% of what the Guardians were owed.[16] On June 1, 2023, after a two day long hearing, the bankruptcy judge ordered Diamond to pay the Guardians fully within five days.[17]

Programming

Professional sports

Bruce Drennan, who hosted a daily afternoon call-in show on the network from 2007 to 2021.

Bally Sports Great Lakes holds the exclusive regional cable television rights to the Cleveland Guardians of Major League Baseball and is the cable outlet of the Cleveland Browns. The channel produces Guardians Live, a pre-game and post-game show bookending the channel's Guardians telecasts or any national games airing on another network. The network also is the primary TV outlet for Cleveland Monsters hockey,[18] and was a secondary broadcaster of Columbus Crew soccer.[19]

Original programming

Current[20]

Current on-air staff

References

  1. ^ "Fox Sports Buys SportsTime Ohio". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media. December 28, 2012. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
  2. ^ Joel Hammond (March 16, 2013). "On new SportsTime Ohio, a lot stays the same". TribeVibe. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
  3. ^ "Disney can buy Fox if it sells 22 regional sports networks, Justice Dept. says". USA Today. June 28, 2018.
  4. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (May 3, 2019). "Sinclair Clinches Disney-Regional Sports Networks Deal, Byron Allen Joins as Partner". Variety. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  5. ^ "Fox Regional Sports Network sale nears conclusion as final round bids come due April 15". Fox Business. March 25, 2019.
  6. ^ Palmeri, Christopher; Sakoui, Anousha (May 2, 2019). "Sinclair to Buy Fox Sports Networks From Disney, WSJ Reports". Bloomberg. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  7. ^ "Sinclair completes acquisition of regional sports networks from Disney". Bloomberg. August 22, 2019. Retrieved August 23, 2019.
  8. ^ Novy-Williams, Eben (November 19, 2020). "Bally's Buys Sinclair RSN Naming Rights As Part of Sports Betting Push". Sportico.com. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  9. ^ Morona, Joey; clevel; .com (January 27, 2021). "Fox Sports Ohio, SportsTime Ohio get new names: Bally Sports Ohio and Bally Sports Great Lakes". cleveland. Retrieved January 27, 2021.
  10. ^ "Bally Sports Ohio & Great Lakes FAQ". FOX Sports. FOX Sports Ohio & SportsTime Ohio. March 17, 2021. Retrieved March 18, 2021.
  11. ^ "Indians season opener marks first live event on Bally Sports Great Lakes". FOX Sports. March 31, 2021. Retrieved March 31, 2021.
  12. ^ Ourand, John (February 15, 2023). "Diamond Sports Group not making $140M interest payment". Sports Business Journal. Leaders Group. Retrieved February 15, 2023.
  13. ^ Hayes, Dade (March 15, 2023). "Diamond Sports Group, Owner Of Bally Networks Once Run By Fox, Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy". Deadline. Retrieved May 5, 2023.
  14. ^ Ourand, John (April 3, 2023). "SBJ Media: Twins, Guardians see rights squeeze". Sports Business Journal. Leaders Group. Retrieved April 3, 2023.
  15. ^ Kaplan, Daniel (April 5, 2023). "MLB files emergency motion in Diamond Sports bankruptcy for Twins, Guardians payments; D-Backs file own motion". The Athletic. New York Times. Retrieved April 18, 2023.
  16. ^ McCann, Michael; Crupi, Anthony (April 20, 2023). "Diamond RSNs Must Pay 50% To 4 MLB Teams In Bankruptcy Case, For Now". Sportico. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved April 20, 2023.
  17. ^ Gonzalez, Aiden (June 1, 2023). "Diamond Sports Group ordered to fully pay MLB teams' contracts". ESPN. Walt Disney Corporation. Retrieved June 3, 2023.
  18. ^ Monsters' broadcast schedule - Lake Erie Monsters.com[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Columbus Crew score Fox Sports local broadcast deal". SportsPro Media. February 28, 2019. Retrieved March 14, 2019.
  20. ^ "STO schedule". Fox Sports Ohio.
  21. ^ a b Training Camp Daily returns to STO - Fox Sports.com