Some cable subscribers who earlier this year enjoyed watching the Cleveland Guardians (broadcast rights owned by Bally Sports Great Lakes) but who discovered last night that they don't live in the coverage zone for Bally Sports Ohio (which owns the broadcast rights to the Cleveland Cavs) lobbed complaints at Bally Sports Cleveland, which exists only as the name of social media accounts, while many of those who this year signed up to follow their favorite basketball team via the brand spanking new Bally Sports+ streaming app, which somehow costs $20 while not including access to Guardians games, suffered from issues with zip code verification, buffering, freezing, lag and audio delays as the Cavaliers lost the 2022-2023 season opener to the Toronto Raptors in a game seen without incident by approximately 13% of the viewing audience.
Welcome to another year of trying, in the most basic ways, to watch Cleveland basketball and being stymied at every step by Bally Sports, a company whose sole purpose is to deliver professionally produced coverage of those games.
The frustration, built technical issue by technical issue, game by game. since a cross partnership rebranding in March 2021 replaced Fox Sports' regional cable networks with a new company whose name chiefly conjures images of closed gyms in suburban strip malls, has now reached the upper echelons of Cleveland City Hall as mayor Justin Bibb last night shared the pain felt by other fans.
Can we please bring back FoxSports Ohio? Asking for a Cavs fan….— Justin M. Bibb (@JustinMBibb) October 20, 2022
He was far from alone, and the problems were many.
Replying to one viewer who pointed out the stream on the app was interrupted constantly by a black screen, Bally Sports Cleveland said, "That is strange and not universal. Trying (sic) exiting out of the stream and relaunching."
By "strange and not universal," Bally Sports apparently meant "normal and happening to many viewers" based on the number of similar complaints.
That is strange and not universal. Trying exiting out of the stream and relaunching.— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) October 20, 2022
Been watching the Bally app for 2 mins and the screen keeps blacking out lol terrible @BallySportsCLE— Kyle (@KShamzy) October 20, 2022
Cool, but why does the broadcast keep going to a black screen so often? We need STO back. 🤦♂️— Sean Sweeney (@Buy_The_Dip33) October 20, 2022
And a fun wrinkle for some folks who tried to sign up for Bally Sports+?
New @BallySportsCLE “+” won’t even let me pay for a subscription because it registered a different zip code than my billing zip code and there’s no way to change it. Glad they got this all figured out for the @cavs season!— Adam Rosen (@osuadamr) October 20, 2022
What a joke @BallySportsCLE can't even sign up for bally sports + it will not let me change my zip code to my actual location.— Chris (@plumb77) October 19, 2022
For those who trudged through the technical and totally not universal difficulties, or managed by sheer luck to receive a decent if mediocre streaming experience on the app, there awaited more problems, chiefly that the app's broadcast ended before the game did, with the Cavs looking at a loss but still with enough time on the clock to pull out some sort of late-game miracle.
Can you break down why watching the game on your app means you can't watch the last 16 seconds? I mean, it is only $20 a month but still— eps524 (@eps524) October 20, 2022
And all that's not to mention the recurring issues (lag, freezing) that beguiled Cavs fans all last season, some of whom offered helpful pointers for Bally Sports as the upstart tries to figure out this whole cable sports thing.
@BallySportsCLE app unwatchable at the most critical moment of the game— proletariat advocate (@jdub3o) October 20, 2022
Fix your shitty app @BallySportsCLE— Big Bird (@Schenk216) October 20, 2022
The Cavs next tip off Saturday night against the Chicago Bulls. Viewers are encouraged to begin starting and restarting their Bally Sports app by Friday afternoon if they hope to see the game.