Oh happy days are finally here: Bally Sports announced Thursday that their direct-to-consumer streaming platform, Bally Sports+, will launch on Sept. 26 and cover all Bally Sports markets — importantly for Mavericks fans, that includes Bally Sports Southwest.
This marks a big help for the Mavericks local broadcasting mess of the last few years. Starting before the 2020-2021 season, Bally Sports did not re-up their broadcasting deals with tons of TV providers, which left local Mavericks fans missing out unless they purchased cable, satellite, or DirecTV Stream (and even then, not every cable and satellite provider was safe). To make matters worse, those options were are all more expensive than the streaming services that most people used like YouTube TV or Hulu.
So this has lasted for two seasons. It’s a topic that has gotten some of the most reactions to anything I’ve written or tweeted about in the past, with fans calling to Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to help. To Cuban’s credit, he did pay out of his own pocket to offer fans DirecTV Stream at a discount last season, but it still didn’t soothe fans long term concerns on how they were going to watch their local NBA team. This was a situation that wasn’t just messing with Mavericks fans, but other markets across the country. It’s a large enough issue that NBA commissioner Adam Silver commented on making changes.
Now, at the very least, fans will have an option to at least pay a not-too-terrible rate to watch their team without having to sign up for cable, satellite, or another streaming package they don’t want. Bally is saying the initial offering will cost $19.99 a month, or $189.99 for a full year. Bally mentioned potentially more pricing options will be announced closer to launch, so hopefully that includes a discounted rate to specifically watch one region (I personally do not need access to Bally Sports Wisconsin, no offense).
There are still some more questions that need to be answered, like the streaming quality and reliability of the service. However this is at least a nice step for those of us tired of NBA TV blackouts and powering through crappy illegal streams. This isn’t cheap, but honestly my bar was so low for this entire situation that I just wanted to give someone, anyone, some money so I can watch the Mavericks on my TV without turning to cable or a full-fledged streaming service I didn’t want. That low bar will now be cleared.