The Royals are back on television, although you will find them under a different channel name. Fox Sports Kansas City officially re-branded as Bally Sports Kansas City this week. The Sinclair Broadcasting Group purchased the channel and 20 other regional sports networks last year, and partnered with the Bally’s Corporation for the naming rights. The first game under the new name will be Thursday, April 1 for Opening Day between the Royals and Texas Rangers.
Bally Sports Kansas City will feature the same familiar faces on Royals telecasts - Rex Hudler, Ryan Lefebvre, and Steve Physioc will call games with field reporter Joel Goldberg, who will continue to host pre- and post-game shows with Royals Hall of Famer Jeff Montgomery. There will be some slight changes in appearance, with brighter graphics, and a new scorebug you can see here:
There will also be a new theme song.
Bally Sports Kansas City will air 161 of 162 Royals games this year, the only exception being the June 26 game against the Rangers that will air on FS1.
Bally Sports Kansas City will be carried by many of the same cable and satellite providers as before. However, Sinclair has been unable to reach agreement on a deal to broadcast on popular streaming services like Hulu, YouTube TV, Sling TV, and fubo, much to the consternation of fans. Currently, the only streaming service that carries Bally Sports Kansas City is AT&T TV. Sinclair is developing a streaming app, although that will require cable authentication, much like the Fox Sports Go app.
Sinclair’s CEO Chris Ripley has also discussed integrating gambling in programming “to make watching sports similar to playing a video game,” adding “you should expect to see gaming elements being incorporated into our sports network and digital programming” later this year.
Bally Sports Kansas City will air 8 1⁄2 hours of live coverage on Opening Day, including:
- 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. - Bally Sports Big Opening Day - a live, whip-around style MLB opening day show that will also feature NHL, NBA, and pro tennis updates and features
- 1:30 p.m. - Royals Live pregame show with Joel and Monty that will include Opening Day pregame ceremonies
- 3:00 p.m. - Royals vs. Rangers
- 6:00 p.m. - Royals Live postgame with Joel and Monty
- 6:30 p.m. - Replay: Royals vs. Rangers
Bally Sports Kansas City will also feature Sporting Kansas City soccer, St. Louis Blues hockey, Oklahoma City Thunder basketball, and Missouri Valley Conference games.