Fox Sports Detroit Will Get A New Name By Opening Day
The trendy new term for changing the name of your business is now "rebranding", and that's exactly what the new owners of Fox Sports Detroit are doing.
Sinclair Broadcast Group (which also owns Kalamazoo's WWMT, Channel 3) is changing the name of "Fox Sports Detroit" to "Bally Sports Detroit". The change is expected to happen by baseball's Opening Day, which this year is set for April 1st. Unless delayed by Covid-19, the Tigers are set to host Cleveland at Comerica Park.
This move is the latest in a series of changes precipitated by not only mega-deals, but also financial losses due to the Covid pandemic, and maybe the most important trend, changing consumer habits, especially among millennials, who have been increasingly becoming "cord cutters". Just last week, Comcast/NBC Universal announced it is shutting down its sports channel, NBCSN, by the end of the year.
The advent of sports betting across the country also is a factor in the rebranding, with casinos and sports books flush with money and looking for avenue to promote themselves. Sportsbusinessdaily.com says the Sinclair-Bally deal is for 10 years and $85 million dollars. That price tag doesn't seem particularly high given the amount of exposure it gives Bally.
Sinclair bought the Fox regional sports networks (RSN's) from Disney in 2019. Disney spun them off after it's acquisition of the 21st Century Fox to comply with government regulators.
One last factor in all this, Sinclair is in "carriage" battles with not only Dish Network, but also Hulu and YouTube TV. Some of the Bally's money could help offset that lost revenue (subscriber fees), as sports rights deals with teams are not expected to go down.