Good news for Marlins fans who have been in the dark

Miami Heat forward Max Strus (31) dunks over Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) during the fourth quarter of Game 1 of a second round NBA Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida on Monday, May 2, 2022 .

Miami Heat forward Max Strus (31) dunks over Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden (1) during the fourth quarter of Game 1 of a second round NBA Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series at FTX Arena in Miami, Florida on Monday, May 2, 2022 .

dvarela@miamiherald.com

Some media notes on Thursday:

Good news for Marlins fans who have Dish, Hulu or YouTube TV: Though none of those providers carry Bally Sports Florida or Bally Sports Sun, Marlins games will be available to you — and everyone else — through Bally’s new streaming service, beginning at some point in the next four to seven weeks.

Bally Plus reportedly will do a soft rollout in June, offering games for five MLB teams — the Marlins, Rays, Royals, Brewers and Tigers. A full rollout — offering games of most MLB teams — is expected by September.

Heat and Panthers games are expected to be offered on the platform next season.

The cost for Bally Sports Plus: $19.99 per month or $189.99 a year.

Bally already is streaming Marlins, Heat and Panthers games on its own web site and App, but that requires authentication and is available only to those who pay for a cable or satellite provider that carries the two Bally Florida networks.

The new app will be available to anyone willing to pay for it.

Streaming will continue to become a bigger part of life for sports fans.

Amazon Prime takes over the Thursday night NFL package this season, beginning with Chiefs-Chargers in Week 2.

Apple Plus (Friday nights) and Peacock (midday Sundays) are in their first year of carrying exclusive MLB packages.

And Broncos-Jaguars at 9:30 am on Oct. 30 from London will be exclusively carried by ESPN Plus, the network’s streaming platform.

Ryan Ruocco and JJ Redick call Game 3 of Heat-76ers at 7 pm Friday on ESPN. Spero Dedes and Grant Hill announce Game 4 on TNT at 8 pm Sunday.

Milwaukee-Boston and Golden State-Memphis each got two ABC games during their ongoing series. The Heat won’t have any second-round games on ABC unless the series goes seven games, and even then it’s not assured.

ABC doesn’t have an NBA game on Sunday because it’s airing the Miami Grand Prix.

Meanwhile, as we reported on Twitter this week (@flasportsbuzz), TNT is set to announce that Kevin Harlan will replace the retired Marv Albert as the voice of its conference finals (the Western this season), paired with Reggie Miller and Stan Van Gundy .

It’s a deserved promotion for Harlan, who got the assignment over two other qualified candidates, Ian Eagle and Brian Anderson. Harlan’s voice has become every bit as associated with the NBA as Mike Breen’s or any of the other top network NBA announcers of recent vintage.

Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson (who’s a finalist for the Sacramento Kings head coach job) will call the Eastern Conference finals on ABC and ESPN, beginning May 15 or 17.

So much for any thought that playoff ratings would tank without the Lakers.

The first round of the playoffs was the most watched on ESPN since 2014, according to Nielsen. The eight games on ESPN averaged 3.3 million viewers, and were up 28 percent from 2021 and up 69 percent from 2020. It now ranks as the third most-watched first round of the NBA Playoffs on ESPN ever, dating back to 2003.

Game 1 of Warriors-Grizzlies last Sunday drew 7.7 million viewers, making it ABC’s most-watched conference semifinals game in 11 years.

For those interested in the Miami Grand Prix: Qualifying and all three practice sessions will air on ESPN networks on Friday and Saturday, with streaming of all sessions and the race on the ESPN App.

Friday practice coverage begins at 2:25 pm on ESPN2.

Saturday practice coverage starts at 12:55 pm on ESPNEWS, with qualifying at 3:55 on ESPN.

Sunday’s race coverage begins at 2 pm on ABC. The race and qualifying will be air commercial-free.

Meanwhile, ESPN will operate a 360 degree photo booth in the North Fan Zone on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

ESPN says fans can “pose with helmets, flags, trophies and champagne bottles for a 360-degree, high-quality slow-motion video available to share instantly on social media.”

Quick stuff: ABC isn’t scheduled to carry any NHL playoff games until the Stanley Cup Finals…

After being dismissed by the Jacksonville Jaguars last December, Urban Meyer reportedly is close to returning to his old job at Fox’s college football studio. He would replace Bob Stoops, who took a job coaching in the XFL…

Amazon, which hired Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit to call its Thursday night games, also hired Tony Gonzalez as a studio analyst. Herbstreit also will remain the lead college football analyst for ABC and ESPN…

ESPN’s opening night of the NFL Draft was its least watched since the draft went to a three-night format in 2010. Some of the ESPN audience migrated to corporate partner ABC, thus lessening the blow.

This story was originally published May 5, 2022 6:14 PM.

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Barry Jackson has written for the Miami Herald since 1986 and has written the Florida Sports Buzz column since 2002.

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