Having owned at least partial television rights to the Braves for the last 12 seasons (initially under the “SportSouth” name) and its name overall in existence for the previous 30 years, Fox Sports is in the process of being rebranded by Bally’s Sports. The naming rights change was actually announced back on January 27th, though an actual unveiling date has yet to be announced.
In total, Bally Sports has purchased naming rights from Sinclair at a price tag of $85 million, and for 2021, a total of 19 Fox RSNs will take on the new Bally name, including Fox Sports and Fox Sports South.
This is just months after the streaming service, Hulu, announced last October its plan to drop all of Sinclair’s Fox Sports-branded (and other regional networks) from its live-TV packages. YouTubeTV, Sling TV, and Dish Network have already done the same.
A hobby most fans were forced to do “under the table,” sports betting is becoming increasingly popular, plus more importantly, acceptable. And Bally’s — a casino corporation that employs nearly 6,000 employees covering 11 casinos in the US — looks to take advantage of the change in opinion. Forget the usual company-sponsored stadium… why not just buy the rights to a TV network?
The payoff seems logical. Every baseball, soccer, or football game played on one of Bally’s RSNs means infinite exposure to its brand. And with the company’s plan to integrate gambling within its content and gameday coverage, this could be just the start of a considerable shift in the way we consume sports. It may not be immediate, but it’ll certainly be interesting to see how this rebranding impacts the future.