Many Timberwolves fans and nationwide sports fans in general already had a hate-hate relationship with Bally Sports before this week.
Issues with the Bally Sports Plus app, which kept local users from being able to watch the Wolves on Monday and Wednesday and national users from being able to watch various other games, only exacerbated the problem.
The Bally Sports Help account on X (formerly Twitter) sent a message at 6:14 p.m. Wednesday that read: "Bally Sports is currently experiencing a streaming outage across many of our regions. We know every moment matters. The Bally Sports operations team is working quickly to identify and fix the issue. We will update you when service has been restored."
The account sent a follow-up tweet at 8:40 p.m. Wednesday saying the issue had been fixed. But the Wolves' win over Denver was nearly over by then.
The app had also experienced a similar outage on Monday, and Bally Sports had followed up Tuesday to "assure our viewers the issue is resolved." That stability apparently lasted a day.
Frustrated fans can be forgiven if they are somewhere between skeptical and mad, particularly those paying $20 a month as app subscribers. You can count me among them, as I talked about on Thursday's Daily Delivery podcast.
(For what it's worth, I was able to log into the app when I tried Thursday morning. Maybe we can watch the Wild game tonight?)
The outages perhaps underscore larger issues with streaming sports — something sports media experts Andrew Marchand of the New York Post and John Ourand of Sports Business Journal talked about earlier this week on their Sports Media Podcast.
They took turns labeling as "disasters" YouTube's problems this past Sunday with their NFL Sunday Ticket stream and Monday's Bally Sports app problems. The podcast went live before Wednesday's Bally app problems.
Ourand noted that people watching "good old-fashioned TV" weren't affected by the Bally problems, something my good friend Jason DeRusha never fails to point out whenever I complain about streaming problems.
The problems that can arise from streaming with buffering, third-party vendors and other factors, can make apps less reliable. That unreliability is the "main reason I have been so skeptical of streaming as an answer to cord cutting," Ourand said on the podcast.
Marchand, meanwhile, was recently in the Twin Cities to take in a Vikings and Wild game with friends. While he was here, he engaged in what was termed a "listening tour" with local fans. His takeaways were very familiar.
"They hate Bally Sports. Nobody had anything nice to say about Bally Sports," Marchand said of Minnesota fans, noting that he talked to several who are watching sports via illegal streams.
He also encountered fans from Iowa who are frustrated that Twins games are blacked out in their market. Ourand said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred "has been very clear that they want to get rid of those blackouts. ... It's in the process of happening," particularly as Bally Sports and other regional sports networks lose rights to teams.
"Nobody is going to miss Bally Sports," Marchand said. "People want a clean, clear way to get their games easily and at a reasonable price. I think the price point is designed to keep people on cable."
All of this is interesting to consider as Bally Sports' parent company, Diamond Sports, continues its bankruptcy process and as the Twins try to determine their local TV carrier in 2024 and beyond after the recent expiration of their 12-year contract with Bally Sports North.
Bundling the Twins, Wild, Wolves and Lynx, among other programming, makes a certain amount of sense — but only if all the games are reliably available in all formats.
Here are four more things to know today:
*Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah talked to reporters on Wednesday for the first time since before the season began. Perhaps the most interesting theme: Adofo-Mensah seemed more locked in on what the Vikings didn't do — namely trading Danielle Hunter — than the two moves they made.
*Big Ten coaches are MAD at Jim Harbaugh and Michigan. This is getting good.
*The primary topic on today's podcast was Gophers men's basketball, with featured guest Marcus Fuller from the Star Tribune. The Gophers play a preseason game tonight against Macalester and open the regular-season Monday against Bethune-Cookman. You can read Fuller's story on big man Pharrel Payne here.
*On the heels of their impressive win Wednesday over the Nuggets, the Wolves will get our full attention on Friday's show featuring beat writer Chris Hine.