Bally Sports Detroit isn’t going anywhere.
The regional sports network, part of Sinclair Broadcast Group, has agreed to multi-year contract extensions with the Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings to continue broadcasting games, sources with knowledge of the situation told the Free Press on Tuesday night.
Terms of the deal are currently unclear.
A formal announcement could come as soon as Wednesday.
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Bally Sports Detroit does not anticipate changes in talent at this time and seems pleased with its group of on-air staffers, headlined by hosts and reporters John Keating, Mickey York, Johnny Kane and Trevor Thompson.
For the Tigers, Matt Shepard has been the play-by-play announcer since 2018. He works with analysts Kirk Gibson and Jack Morris and studio analysts Dan Petry and Craig Monroe. For the Red Wings, play-by-play announcer Ken Daniels and analyst Mickey Redmond have called games together since 1997. Chris Osgood and Larry Murphy provide analysis in the studio.
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The most recent deal between Bally Sports Detroit — previously Fox Sports Detroit — and the Christopher Ilitch-owned Tigers and Red Wings occurred in 2007. In 2018, Ilitch Holdings expressed interest in creating its own regional sports network.
“Fox Sports Detroit is a great partner and we look forward to discussing renewal and extension possibilities,” Ilitch Holdings Group President of Sports and Entertainment Chris Granger said in October 2018. “At the same time, we have two perennially highly-rated and historic franchises, which provide compelling year-round content and programming. As such, we feel our organization is uniquely positioned to explore the launch of what we believe could be a highly successful regional sports network.”
That project seems to be dead, considering the multi-year agreement with BSD.
On March 31, 2021, the home of the Tigers, Red Wings and Detroit Pistons became known as Bally Sports Detroit. The network’s parent company, Sinclair, bought FSD and its sister regional sports networks from Disney in May 2019 for $10.6 billion. The naming rights were sold in November 2020 to Bally’s Corp., owners and operators of 14 casinos across ten states.
The Pistons and BSD are believed to be in good shape moving forward. It’s unclear when the latest contract expires.
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