It’s baseball season again, and I have been enjoying keeping track of the Twins through spring training and now into the start of the regular season. I just have one problem. There is no good way for me to watch the Twins live at home. While this problem isn’t immediate, I can watch the Twins here at college; once classes have ended and I’m back at home I’ve realized the options to watch the Twins and other Minnesota sports are pretty slim and/or very expensive. In my experience, this seems to be a problem for a lot of fans, and if the Twins and their TV providers want more people to watch games, this is something they should address.
Currently, the Twins broadcasting rights, as well as that of the Wild, Timberwolves and Lynx, are owned by Bally Sports, formerly Fox Sports. If you want to watch a live game you need to watch it on their channel or app on a smart TV. This sounds simple enough, but is often complicated in practice. A few years ago, Fox Sports/Bally Sports was included in Hulu Live TV and in Dish, as well as other streaming services. Now, since Bally Sports and these providers were unable to make deals to keep Bally in their lineups, they are no longer included. This means for people who have certain providers like my family does, they cannot get Bally Sports and to be able to watch it would have to switch TV providers entirely. Some providers that still include Bally are DirectTV and Spectrum.
Changing our TV provider at home just to get one channel would be a major inconvenience, especially since the whole point of switching away from traditional cable or satellite TV is to try and save money and only have to pay for channels you actually want to watch. Switching to DirectTV or Spectrum for example would be more expensive than what we currently have and involve paying for additional channels as well as Bally.
Are there any other options then to get Twins games as a standalone option you may ask? After all, there are many services now like ESPN+ or Paramount+ that allow for watching certain live or on-demand shows independent of a content provider. The answer to that question is also unfortunately no. There is a streaming service called MLB.TV that allows you to just pay for MLB games and other content. But there is a catch to this. MLB.TV does not allow you to watch in-market games. So if you were a Twins fan that lived in Florida, you can watch the Twins live on MLB.TV, but not if you live in Minnesota since you’re living within the Bally Sports market.
I have heard some news stories that Bally may be moving to start their own streaming service so fans can pay for them directly. This would be an exciting prospect but so far it has not been set up yet. The price may also be expensive, with a report saying it could cost around $23 a month. Being able to pay just for Bally Sports and not having to include additional channels or switch services would be a great benefit though despite the price if that is all someone really wants to watch.
So while there may be some increase in potential viewing options for the Twins soon, the current situation is still not great. I think it reflects the issues that have emerged with TV and streaming options today as well. Now we have so many streaming services and companies wanting to sell their content exclusively, it is becoming harder and harder to just be able to pay for one bundle of what we’d like to watch. Now, we might need to add more and more subscriptions just to watch the same things we were able to previously. The Twins and other Minnesota sports teams should be aware, if they want more people to be able to watch their games, they should make it easier for people to get them on their screens in the first place.
Connor Kockler is a student at St. John’s University. He enjoys writing, politics and news, among other interests.