If you are a local fan of the Cleveland Guardians, then Bally Sports Great Lakes is a must-have channel. But you aren’t required to stay in a long-term contract with a cable or satellite provider to get it. Read on to learn everything you need to know.
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Table Of Contents
Bally Sports Great Lakes is a must-have channel for Cleveland Guardians fans located within its broadcast area. Nearly all of that team’s games are broadcast on it. It also shows Cleveland Monsters (AHL) games.
If you are looking to get Bally Sports Great Lakes while saying “Goodbye!” to your cable bill, the process is as simple as can be: just sign up with Fubo or DIRECTV STREAM. Keep reading for the details.
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Which TV Providers Stream Bally Sports Great Lakes?
There are currently two options for streaming Bally Sports Great Lakes: Fubo (formerly FuboTV) and DIRECTV STREAM. Note that Bally Sports+ does not currently carry Guardians games.
Fubo for Bally Sports Great Lakes
Fubo is a great choice for sports fans — especially now that it provides access to Bally Sports. Its base plan includes all the networks as well as CBS Sports Network, ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, and FS2. It also comes with hard-to-find networks beIN Sports and TUDN — roughly two dozen channels in all.
All plans come with the ability to watch on up to 10 devices at once. And it includes a cloud DVR with 1,000 hours of storage.
Fubo’s price depends upon how many RSNs are included with the plan. Most people will also get Bally Sports Ohio and SportsNet Pittsburgh, so the total cost is $88.98/mo.
- Plan Cost: $74.99/mo
- RSN Fee:
- One RSN: $10.99/mo — total: $85.98/mo
- Two or More RSNs: $13.99/mo — total: $88.98/mo
DIRECTV STREAM for Bally Sports Great Lakes
Besides Fubo, the only streaming service offering Bally Sports Great Lakes is DIRECTV STREAM. It didn’t use to be that way. Back in 2020, Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV both included it in their plans. But they look very unlikely to ever bring it back.
You can get Bally Sports Great Lakes through DIREC TV STREAM’s Choice plan, which costs $108.99/mo. Of course, as with all RSNs, you must be located within its broadcast area.
If you are also an Ohio State Buckeyes football or basketball fan or, for that matter, a fan of any Big Ten school, you will receive several of those games on the Big Ten Network, ESPN, ESPN2, and FS1. Meanwhile, those who support one or more Mid-American Conference schools will get to watch their team(s) play on channels such as ESPNU.
However, you do need to make the jump up to DIRECTV STREAM’s Ultimate plan ($119.99/mo) if you want to watch live games being broadcast on CBS Sports Network or FS2. Ohio-based schools are regularly shown on CBS Sports Network and sporadically broadcast on FS2.
Regardless of which plan you select, as long as it is the Choice plan or above, you will generally receive other RSNs as well. Most notably, those in Cleveland and Columbus will also be able to watch Bally Sports Ohio programming. Meanwhile, subscribers in Columbus will get those two channels plus SportsNet Pittsburgh.
What is Bally Sports+?
Note: At this point, Bally Sports+ has secured rights for the games of all covered NBA and NHL teams. But it has not secured rights to most MLB team games. Make sure that your teams will be available before signing up. Or go with Fubo.
As of the start of the 2022 MLB season, Bally Sports began offering it direct-to-consumer streaming service, Bally Sports+. This includes all 19 of its channels.
Unfortunately, right now they only have agreements with five MLB teams: Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, and Tampa Bay Rays. Those are the only teams you can stream on Bally Sports+.
You can pay monthly or yearly:
- Monthly: $19.99
- Yearly: $189.99
For this, you get whatever Bally Sports channels are broadcast in your area. For example, subscribers in Toledo, Ohio get access to the Bally Sports channels Detroit, Great Lakes, and Ohio. (Black Friday deal)
With Bally Sports+, you can watch directly on BallySports.com or through apps for Amazon Fire TV, Android TV-compatible TVs, tvOS, iOS (iPhone, iPad), and Android.
Note that a Bally Sports+ subscription only entitles you to access to Bally Sports channels. So, you won’t get access to national sports channels like ESPN and FS1. But you could combine Bally Sports+ with a low-cost live TV streaming service like Sling TV.
And if you live someplace like Youngstown, you may want to go with DIRECTV STREAM because you would also get SportsNet Pittsburgh. (Alternatively, you could combine Bally Sports+ with Fubo for the same price.)
Just to be clear, we want to make sure you realize that Bally Sports+ does not cover Cleveland Guardians games at this time.
Are There Any Alternatives to Bally Sports Great Lakes?
Those living in Bally Sports Great Lakes’ broadcast area do not have any alternatives to Fubo and DIRECTV STREAM, unless they prefer to stick with cable or satellite. However, if you’d like to, for example, simply watch some Cleveland Guardians games, your options open up.
For one thing, nearly every major sports team is at least sporadically broadcast on national television. Plus, all major playoff games are shown to a national audience. For example, the World Series is on Fox, and the NBA Finals are broadcast on ABC. Both of these can be accessed for free with an antenna.
Meanwhile, those fans situated outside their teams’ blackout areas can subscribe to services that provide out-of-market broadcasts to them. Most notably, Guardians fans not located in that team’s blackout area can watch all of their out-of-market games with an MLB.TV subscription ($24.99/mo).
The blackout area covers most of Ohio (all but its southwest) and nearby portions of Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York.
What Devices Are Available to Stream Bally Sports Great Lakes?
Fubo and DIRECTV STREAM work on most devices to allow you to watch the Cleveland Guardians on Bally Sports Great Lakes. They both work directly on most Samsung and Android TV smart TVs. And all the “stick” devices that everyone seems to have these days are supported: Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV.
If you are on the go, you can watch on iOS or Android smartphones and tablets. And you can cast from these devices and some web browsers directly to your TV with Chromecast (built-in or external device).
Fubo supports many other devices, including LG and VIZIO smart TVs and Xbox gaming systems.
You may find it easiest to use DIRECTV STREAM’s own device, which costs $120 flat or $5/mo.
Bally Sports has its own app. You can use your Fubo or DIRECTV STREAM account to log in. It supports pretty much the same devices as Fubo.
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What Is Bally Sports Great Lakes?
If you are wondering what happened to SportsTime Ohio, this is it. Its name change to Bally Sports Great Lakes went into effect on March 31, 2021, just in time for the baseball season. The Cleveland Guardians (then Indians) opened their campaign the following day in Detroit against the Tigers.
Before then, SportsTime Ohio was purchased by Fox, in December 2012, and Fox-oriented branding was added to its logo in March 2013. However, it kept its name intact, not changing it to one that included the “Fox Sports” wordage like had been done with most of the other regional sports networks (RSNs) that were purchased at that time.
Where Is Bally Sports Great Lakes Available?
Bally Sports Great Lakes’ live game broadcasts focus on teams in the Cleveland and, to a lesser extent, Columbus area. It can be accessed throughout the northern and central areas of the Buckeye State.
Its coverage area also stretches into nearby areas of Pennsylvania and New York, including Erie in the former state and Buffalo in the latter. However, Pittsburgh is not included in its coverage area.
What Sports Teams Does Bally Sports Great Lakes Cover?
The unquestionable focus of Bally Sports Great Lakes is the Cleveland Guardians. More than 95% of their games are shown on this channel. In fact, it was founded in 2006 with that focus. Interestingly, at that time, then-named SportsTime Ohio had taken the Guardians from then-named FSN Ohio.
However, that narrow focus does result in limited offerings during the Guardians’ off season. Some Cleveland Browns programming, albeit not live game broadcasts, are shown here as well (e.g., “Red Zone” and “Browns Live”).
An important exception to note is that the Cleveland Cavaliers are not shown on Bally Sports Great Lakes. The vast majority of their games are broadcast on Bally Sports Ohio instead.
However, Cleveland-based hockey fans will want access to Bally Sports Great Lakes, as around 10 of the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters’ games are shown each season.
Some college sports events are shown on Bally Sports Great Lakes as well, but rarely are any Ohio-based schools featured in those. The college contests that do air on this channel are generally filler taken from other Bally Sports affiliates and focus on schools from those areas.
Non-live sports programming that is shown on Bally Sports Great Lakes includes “Ring of Honor Wrestling,” “AVP Beach Volleyball,” “In Depth With Graham Bensinger,” and “18 Holes With Natalie Gulbis and Jimmy Hanlin.”
Is There a Bally Sports Great Lakes Plus?
Although several other Bally Sports affiliates include one or more “Plus” channels to handle overflow programming, that is not necessary here. That is partially due to the Cleveland Guardians being its lone primary focus and partially because any overflow that does still happen can typically be moved to Bally Sports Ohio.
What Programs Are on Bally Sports Great Lakes?
The focus of Bally Sports Great Lakes is its broadcast of Guardians baseball. These include pregame and postgame news and analysis shows under the name Guardians Live, which is hosted by Al Pawlowski, Jensen Lewis, and former Cleveland player Chris Gimenez.
Matt Underwood and Rick Manning have both broadcast Cleveland Guardians games for multiple decades. Underwood is an Ohio native who also focused his career on the Buckeye State, while Manning had a 13-year MLB playing career; he played five of those seasons with Cleveland. Local sportscaster Andre Knott reports from the field.
There are a few new faces for the 2023 season. Pat Tabler will be teaming up with Underwood in the press booth for some games, while Gimenez and fellow former then-Indian Ellis Burks will rotate in to co-host Guardians Live.
Bally Sports Great Lakes also airs a collection of other shows, both from the Bally Sports network itself and outside licensed content.
Do you want to stream Bally Sports Great Lakes and its live broadcasts of Cleveland Guardians games and other sporting events? Fubo is our top choice. Fubo allows you to try out its service with a free trial.
What happened to SportsTime Ohio?
SportsTime Ohio had been the home of the Cleveland Indians and offered other Ohio-based sports broadcasting since 2006, keeping that name through its purchase by and sale from Fox. However, that historic name finally came to an end on March 31, 2021, in advance of the Cleveland Indians starting their campaign the following day.
This name change was the result of its new owner, Diamond Sports Group (Entertainment Studios Inc and Sinclair Broadcast Group), making an arrangement with Bally’s Corporation in January 2021. Soon after, it renamed SportsTime Ohio and all the now-named Bally Sports RSNs throughout the country. The timing was good because by the end of the year, the Cleveland Indians had changed their name to the Cleveland Guardians.
Can I watch the Cleveland Cavaliers on Bally Sports Great Lakes?
Despite the Guardians being shown on Bally Sports Great Lakes, Cleveland’s other non-NFL major sports franchise, the Cleveland Cavaliers, is broadcast on a different channel: Bally Sports Ohio. However, those who have access to Bally Sports Great Lakes through either Fubo or DIRECTV STREAM will also most likely receive Bally Sports Ohio with coverage of the Cincinnati Reds (MLB) and Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL).
Does Fubo include Bally Sports Great Lakes?
Fubo had access to the Bally Sports channels up to 2020, but then lost it due to a carriage dispute. But in February 2023, Bally Sports came back to Fubo. So if you sign up with Fubo, you will get Bally Sports Great Lakes. That assumes you live in its broadcast area.
Can I get Bally Sports Great Lakes through YouTube TV?
YouTube TV does not offer any of the Bally Sports channels. RSNs are some of the most expensive channels to license. So, YouTube TV offers very few. But this does result in the service offering great national channels (including local affiliates) with a relatively low price tag.
Does Hulu + Live TV offer Bally Sports Great Lakes?
Hulu + Live TV is much like YouTube TV in terms of RSNs. It offers the six NBC Sports channels, plus SportsNet New York, which YouTube TV dropped. So if you are outside a major metro area (and even if you aren’t), you’re out of luck. Otherwise, it provides an excellent channel lineup. And on top of that, it includes Disney+ and ESPN+.
How can I watch the Guardians’ divisional rivals?
The other MLB teams in the American League Central can be similarly streamed. See the following:
- Chicago White Sox — NBC Sports Chicago
- Detroit Tigers — Bally Sports Detroit
- Kansas City Royals — Bally Sports Kansas City
- Minnesota Twins — Bally Sports North
Does Bally Sports show Columbus Crew games?
Through 2022, Bally Sports Great Lake was home to the Columbus Crew. But Major League Soccer made a bold move in 2023, ending its contracts with most RSNs and providing streaming access to directly to consumers through MLS Season Pass. It costs $14.99/mo or $99.99 for the year. It’s a substantial cost on top of the live channels you will likely want. But it’s also a welcome option for MLS fans.
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