Minnesota, Say Goodbye to Fox Sports North
The regional network that's been home to most of Minnesota's professional sports teams for the past 20 years is going away.
If you like to watch any games played by the Minnesota Twins, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Minnesota Lynx, Minnesota UFC, or the Minnesota Wild, you're familiar with Fox Sports North, right? It's the regional sports network that's held the broadcast rights for those Minnesota teams since 1989, though it was called Midwest Sports Channel (MSC) back then.
After a series of various corporate sales, mergers, and acquisitions, MSC officially became known as Fox Sports North back in 2001, after it secured broadcast rights to the then-brand-new Minnesota Wild. But now, it's going away-- and could be gone in just a matter of weeks.
Wait, what? Well, yes, the familiar Fox Sports North IS going away-- but it's being replaced (or 'rebranded,' as marketing folks like to say these days) as Bally Sports North, thanks to yet another ownership change. According to this story in The Athletic, those Fox Sports networks (including 21 other regional Fox Sports networks, like Fox Sports Wisconsin) were purchased by the Sinclair Broadcasting Group, in a deal that actually closed back in 2019.
The sports networks are just now undergoing the name change now to reflect Sinclair's new naming rights sponsor, which is the Bally's Corporation (better known as just 'Ballys'). It owns and manages 11 casinos across seven states. It's in the process of adding four more casinos to its holdings and is no doubt looking to publicize its various brands.
A Bally's release said that, outside of their new red logo, we won't notice too many changes here in Minnesota, though it is consolidating some of its other networks in other parts of the country. The rebranding is expected to take place before the start of the Major League Baseball season, which starts on April 1st when the Twins head to the also newly-rebranded American Family Field (formerly Miller Park) in Milwaukee to take on the Brewers.
So, in just a few weeks that familiar Fox Sports North brand will be just a memory here in Minnesota. Of course, that kind of thing happens all the time in business these days, as some brands leave and new ones take their place. Keep scrolling to see if you can recognize any of these one-time familiar brands that have now gone away.