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2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Xfinity Drops Bally Sports. How to Watch the Florida Panthers

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FORT LAUDERDALE — Comcast Xfinity is the latest to get into a carriage dispute with Diamond Sports, dropping the Bally Sports regional sports networks from its cable lineup nationwide including South Florida.

With the Florida Panthers in the playoffs, how does that affect hockey fans in the area?

Actually, not at all.

At least right now.

Fans of the Miami Heat, Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays who have Xfinity, well, that is a different story.

Those who live in other parts of the county are also losing NBA, NHL and MLB coverage of their local teams.

As for the Panthers, Bally Sports carried all five games of Florida’s opening-round series win against the rival Tampa Bay Lightning.

Those games were carried both on Bally Sports Florida and Sun with local broadcasters from both sides of the state.

With Florida moving into the second round, national television rights come into play; Bally Sports — as well as other RSNs such as NESN and MSG — were not going to televise the NHL conference semifinals or any other rounds from here on out, anyway.

The remainder of the NHL postseason will be covered by Disney (ESPN, ABC) and Warner (TNT, TBS, TruTV) — and streamed on ESPN+, Hulu and MAX.

Bally Sports Florida is also not planning to have specialized pre- and postgame shows for the Panthers before and after the national telecasts in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

They could return for the next round if the Panthers were to advance.

As for the Heat, Marlins and Rays, those who have Xfinity will have to find other ways to watch.

Bally Sports Sun is carrying Game 5 of the Heat-Celtics playoff series tonight at 7:30; that game is also going to be on TNT which, as of right now, Xfinity still carries.

If the Heat were to force a Game 6, that would also be on Ballys as well as ESPN. A Game 7 would be on ABC.

So, how do you watch the Marlins?

Bally Sports Florida is the exclusive rightsholder to the Marlins which means, to watch them without resorting to various bootleg online streams, Xfinity will not have them.

Other cable and satellite providers, of course, do.

Although Diamond Sports and Comcast did not come to an agreement on carriage fees, DirecTV did come an agreement earlier this week on a multi-year deal.

FuboTV and DirecTV Stream offers Bally Sports; Hulu, YouTube TV and Sling do not.

Bally Sports also has a standalone streaming subscription service which costs about $20 a month — but only offers two teams per channel.

That means to get both the Marlins and Rays, it would cost $40 for Bally Sports+.

Next season, Amazon is expected to be the streaming home of Bally Sports although pricing has not been released for that service.

For those who subscribe to Xfinity, expect a service credit as long as Bally Sports remains off the air.

According to Detroit’s WDIV-4, Xfinity customers in Michigan will be getting between $8-10 per month with an Xfinity spokesperson telling the outlet that the credit will automatically come off a customer’s bill.

This is not the first time Diamond Sports has been in a carriage dispute with a carrier when it comes to Bally Sports and it will not be the last.

For the most in-depth coverage of the Florida Panthers:

STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS
FLORIDA PANTHERS (ATL1) V. BOSTON (A2)/TORONTO (A3)
*Boston Leads Toronto 3-2 in Round 1
BEST-OF-7 SERIES
GAME 1

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