Finally, fans who want to watch Milwaukee Brewers games without a cable or satellite subscription will have that option.
On Thursday, Sinclair Broadcasting will introduce Bally Sports+, a direct-to-consumer offering that allows the purchase of the Bally Sports Wisconsin app without an existing cable or satellite service. For $19.99 per month or $189.99 for an annual subscription, users can purchase the app and watch live Brewers games, as well as Bucks games eventually in the fall.
Bally Sports Wisconsin airs nearly all Brewers games and a significant number of Bucks games throughout the year, although games will air elsewhere after the season. Bally Sports Wisconsin has not been offered on most cable cutting services such as YouTubeTV or Hulu+LiveTV for nearly two years.
The change is part of a soft launch, meaning it will only work in five “markets,” specifically those looking at the Brewers, Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, Kansas City Royals, and Tampa Bay Rays. Everyone in Wisconsin must be in Brewers territory and have access to the service.
“We want to learn from this experience before moving into the wider market and the rest of the country,” said Mike Dimond, general manager of Bally Sports North and Bally Sports Wisconsin. “We want the consumer feedback point of view… because we want to make the best product available in the long run.”
The product will be the same app that already exists for viewers who use a cable/satellite account to access Bally Sports Wisconsin; it’s just a new entrance. In addition to the live games, users can watch pregame and postgame content as well as some extras like Minnesota Wild games.
The markets were selected because Sinclair owns direct-to-consumer rights to those five. Dimond stressed that Sinclair is subject to the same restrictions as all Major League Baseball broadcasts, and that only those within the MLB-defined Brewers territory will have the opportunity to watch Brewers games.
“Your entry point should be within the territory, based on your zip code,” Dimond said. “With the current app, you have banking privileges, which allows you to travel outside of that (market) for 30 days, but after that the device has to come back to the market, just like it is now.”
Dimond said BallySportsPlus.com will go live Thursday morning, in time for users to sign up and watch Brewers Day’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
“This is an introductory launch, there won’t be a full marketing effort here,” Dimond said. “We’ll get there when we do a wider launch in the fall with the start of the NBA and NHL seasons. You’ll see a full-court press with marketing. As a fan in Wisconsin, you’ll get the Brewers and Bucks as part of this Everything you see on the linear channel, you can also watch direct-to-consumer.”
He said he knows some users have had issues working with the current app, but believes many issues have been resolved at the end of his organization.
“We have full customer service here; we brought in a third party to help us, and this is what they do for a living, checking social media and working with agents to help consumers solve problems or anything like that,” said Dimond.
“It’s version 1.0; we want to make sure the functionality is there and the user experience is where it needs to be. We’ll build from there.”
More: Meet the announcers who broadcast Brewers’ baseball games on TV and radio during the 2022 season
JR Radcliffe can be reached at (262) 361-9141 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @JRRadcliffe.
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