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Prime Pickings: Amazon Acquires Bally Sports, the World Rejoices

Let me tell you a story. A story of a company with ill-intent and not much forethought put into their grand plan of brand promotion. The story of Bally Sports and its downfall.

Bally Sports is (or rather, was) a subsidiary of Diamond Sports which worked with Bally's Corporation and the Sinclair Broadcasting Group to promote the Bally's brand and fund its operations. Bally's Corporation is an entertainment company focused on gambling and owns "The Boat", previously owned by Isle of Capri, down by the Missouri River. This being said, in 2021, before that year's MLB season, Bally Sports and Diamond Sports purchased regional sports TV broadcasting rights from Disney and 21st Century Fox. This meant that any regional sports broadcasts under FOX's umbrella that were not directly broadcasted and featured by the nationally recognized FOX network itself were commandeered by Bally Sports. Locally, this meant Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Blues games, which previously were on FOX Sports Midwest, among others.

You can see where I am going with this: This was a move done to promote sports betting and gambling in the area and therefore boost Bally's brand. Unbeknownst to them, Missouri wasn't budging on legalizing sports betting, which was one of the many obstacles Bally Sports faced in their new acquisition. While Kansas DID legalize it, it didn't do much to move the needle and there was little interest in paying $70 a month (if you didn't have DirectTV) to watch a terrible baseball team. A nail in the coffin, at least in the MoKan area, for Bally Sports, but it was happening in most regions Bally set up shop in. Nobody wanted to pay that amount of money, or really ANY amount of money, to watch their local regular-season NBA, NHL, and MLB games on TV, which is what Bally was offering. The hits kept coming and there was simply no interest in Bally Sports, which eventually, led to their downfall. Historic levels of mismanagement, ill-preparedness at most levels, negative public relations, and more left a stain on Bally's brand and left Diamond Sports as an entity for dead.

In late 2023, Diamond Sports filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, having to either sell or concede all properties under their name, including Bally Sports. Bally Sports was left without a home for a few months until today, January 17th, 2024, when it was acquired by Amazon Prime and Prime Video. $15/month as well as something a majority of people already have access to is a WAY more enticing deal than what was previously offered, and that is what we will have for the upcoming MLB season.

Let me just say that I have longed for this day the entirety of the 2 years and change Bally Sports owned the Royals' broadcasting rights, and it could not have come at a better time. The Royals are becoming a better baseball team. Progress and change are around the corner with the young talent developing and the help they're bringing in in free agency. We could actually have access to a GOOD Royals team without having to break the bank or go to a game, and I think that is wonderful.

I LOATHED Bally Sports and their intentions as a company. Seeing them blunder through trying to handle regional sports broadcasts was embarrassing, the fact that they had a hand in moving the Athletics out of Oakland was sickening, and they finally got their just desserts in their dismantling. Finally, something goes right for the Royals, now we just wait on how the stadium vote in Jackson County goes and whether or not John Sherman has a meltdown over it...but this was welcome news indeed.


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