If you are a local fan of the Cleveland Guardians, then Bally Sports Great Lakes is a must-have channel. In the past, that required staying in a long-term contract with a cable or satellite provider. this is no longer true. Read on to learn everything you need to know.
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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 several Columbus Crew (MLS) matches and Cleveland Monsters (AHL) games.
Cleveland Cavaliers fans, on the other hand, are generally taken care of by sister station Bally Sports Ohio shows in-market broadcasts of their 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: sign up with DIRECTV STREAM. Read on for the details.
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.
Prior to 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’ offseason. One way this is partially filled is by the Columbus Crew having their locally produced broadcasts generally move from Bally Sports Ohio to Bally Sports Great Lakes once the Guardians are done with their season. Some Cleveland Browns programming, albeit not live game broadcasts, are shown here as well (eg, “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.”
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 generally be moved to Bally Sports Ohio.
Bally Sports Great Lakes Programming
The focus of Bally Sports Great Lakes is its broadcast of Guardians games. These include pregame and postgame news and analysis shows under the name Guardians Live.
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.
Overseeing the pitch at Columbus Crew matches are Neil Sika, Jordan Angeli, and Brett Hiltbrand; they serve as play-by-play commentator, analyst and sideline reporter, respectively, on those game broadcasts.
Bally Sports Great Lakes also airs a collection of other shows both from the Bally Sports network itself and outside licensed content.
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Stream Bally Sports Great Lakes With DIRECTV STREAM
Formerly, several streaming services offered access to Bally Sports Great Lakes. However, that number went down suddenly in 2020 when FuboTV, Hulu + Live TV, and YouTube TV all dropped their contracts. Now, there is just one: DIRECTV STREAM.
You can get Bally Sports Great Lakes through DIRECTV STREAM’s Choice plan, which costs $89.99/mo. Of course, as with all RSNs, you must be located within its broadcast area.
Subscribing will also grant you access to several other sports-oriented channels, including the ACC Network, Big Ten Network, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, FS1, MLB Network, NBA TV, and SEC Network.
If you are also an Ohio State Buckeyes 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 $10 jump up to DIRECTV STREAM’s Ultimate plan ($104.99/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 AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh.
For more details about DIRECTV STREAM, see our detailed review.
Note: At this point, Bally Sports+ has not secured rights to most MLB, NBA, and NHL team games. Make sure that your teams will be available before signing up. Or stick with DIRECTV STREAM.
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.
You can pay monthly or yearly:
- Monthly: $19.99
- Yearly: $189.99
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 AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh. (Alternatively, you could combine Bally Sports+ with FuboTV for the same price.)
Alternatives to Bally Sports Great Lakes
Unfortunately, those living in Bally Sports Great Lakes’ broadcast area do not have any alternatives to DIRECTV STREAM unless they want to stick with cable or satellite. However, if you want 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 of 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. In addition, out-of-market Columbus Crew broadcasts may be viewed with an ESPN+ subscription ($6.99/mo).
Devices to Stream Bally Sports Great Lakes
DIRECTV STREAM works on most devices to allow you to watch the Cleveland Guardians on Bally Sports Great Lakes. It works directly on most Samsung 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).
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 DIRECTV STREAM account to log in. It supports most of the devices we’ve discussed in addition to Android TV compatible devices and the Xbox One.
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Do you want to stream Bally Sports Great Lakes and its live broadcasts of Cleveland Guardians games, Columbus Crew matches, and other sporting events? Then make sure to subscribe to DIRECTV STREAM ($89.99/mo) today. A 5-day free trial is now available for DIRECTV STREAM.
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 new owner Sinclair Broadcast Group making an arrangement with Bally’s Corporation in January 2021 before soon renaming SportsTime Ohio and all of 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, are broadcast on a different channel: Bally Sports Ohio. However, those who have access to Bally Sports Great Lakes through their DIRECTV STREAM subscription will also most likely receive Bally Sports Ohio with coverage of Cincinnati Reds (MLB), Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL), and Columbus Crew (MLS).
Does FuboTV include Bally Sports Great Lakes?
None of the Bally Sports RSNs, including Bally Sports Great Lakes, are included in the FuboTV channel lineup. But it does provide a number of other important RSNs so it may make sense to combine a Bally Sports+ subscription with FuboTV since that is roughly the same price as the DIRECTV STREAM Choice plan.
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 and SportsNet New York. 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 teams in the American League Central can be similar 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
How can I watch the Crew’s conference rivals?
The other teams in the Eastern Conference can be similar streamed. See the following:
- Atlanta United FC — NA
- Charlotte FC — NA
- Chicago Fire FC — NA
- FC Cincinnati — NA
- DC United — NA
- Inter Miami CF — NA
- CF Montréal — NA
- New England Revolution — NBC Sports Boston
- New York City FC — YES Network
- New York Red Bulls — MSG
- Orlando City SC — NA
- Philadelphia Union — NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Toronto FC — NA
How can I watch channels other than Bally Sports Great Lakes without cable?
Check out the guides below for information on watching them without cable:
- ACC Network
- Altitude Sports
- AT&T SN Pitts
- AT&T SN RM
- AT&T SN SW
- Bally Arizona
- Bally Detroit
- Bally Florida
- Bally Great Lakes
- Bally Indiana
- Bally Kansas City
- Bally Midwest
- Bally New Orleans
- Bally North
- Bally Ohio
- Bally Oklahoma
- Bally San Diego
- Bally SoCal
- Bally South
- Bally Southeast
- Bally Southwest
- Bally Sun
- Bally West
- Bally Wisconsin
- beIN Sports
- Big Ten
- NBCS Philadelphia
- NBCS Washington
- NFL Network
- NFL RedZone
- NHL Network
- Olympic Channel
- Outdoor Channel
- Pac-12 Network
- Root Sports
- SEC Network
- Spectrum SN
- Spectrum SN LA
- Sportsman Channel
- SportsNet NY
- Stadium College
- Tennis Channel
- TyC Sports
- Willow TV
- YES Network
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