The problem of relying on your cable/satellite or streaming service to carry Bally Sports North may soon be a problem with a very simple fix. Sinclair Broadcasting Group announced Wednesday that it will soft launch "Bally Sports+" in five American markets this June.
The announcement was made on the company's quarterly earnings call, with The Streamable reporting that Bally Sports+ will soft launch in June with five MLB teams: Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays.
As of now, Bally Sports North is only available through a cable or satellite provider, or through DirecTV Stream's Choice Plan, which costs $89.99 per month.
What would Bally Sports+ look like in Minnesota?
There are plenty of unknowns, but Sinclair has streaming rights for all NBA and NHL teams, so the Timberwolves and Wild would definitely be included in a Minnesota version of Bally Sports+. Sinclair would then have to secure the streaming rights for the Minnesota Twins, Lynx, and United.
A major question that would arise from this would be to what extent Bally Sports North maintains a presence on cable/satellite providers and streaming services like DirecTV .
If you currently have access to Bally Sports North there's a good chance you either pay about $90/month for DirecTV Stream or you are paying at least $50 per month through Xfinity, though that's on a one-year contract whereas DirecTV Stream can be canceled month-to-month.
So if Bally Sports+ launches in Minnesota – possibly launching nationwide this fall, per The Streamable – you would have the option of paying $19.99/month or a one-time annual payment that knocks down the monthly average to just under $16.
Would you add that $16-$19 monthly payment just to watch Minnesota sports? And then what would you do for other streaming and live TV options? YouTube TV runs at $64.99 per month. Hulu Live is $69.99 and comes with Disney+ and ESPN+. Sling TV costs $35 to $50 per month. Would you cancel a pricy cable package if you can get all the sports you need from Bally Sports+?
We'll get answers to all of those questions by the end of the year, it appears.