I’ve been covering the bankruptcy of Diamond Sports, the owner of the Bally Sports regional sports networks, here in some detail. There have already been some teams that have had their Bally Sports deals taken over by MLB (Diamondbacks, Padres) and now we have a report from Next|TV that Diamond/Bally will continue to carry some MLB games in 2024, citing the Sports Business Journal:
According to the report, nine MLB teams currently under contract with Diamond for distribution of local TV rights on Bally Sports-branded channels will be paid their full contracted rates for the 2024 season. This includes the Los Angeles Angels, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays.
Three Bally Sports MLB teams are reported by SBJ not to be part of the agreement: The World Series Champion Texas Rangers, the Cleveland Guardians and the Minnesota Twins.
So, that’s good for those nine teams. We’ve already heard about possible player payroll cuts by the Twins because they won’t be getting their full payment from Diamond Sports.
Another interesting note:
Also notable: Five of the teams Diamond reportedly has agreed to move on with — the Tigers, Royals, Marlins, Brewers, and Rays — have signed their streaming rights over to direct-to-consumer service Bally Sports Plus.
This could make more money for those five teams, assuming they get the rights for in-market streaming, as the Cubs have done with Marquee Sports Network.
Major League Baseball has reportedly also floated a provision that would have it seize Diamond’s 20% stake in the YES Network if the bankrupt RSN subsidiary reneged on the terms of the agreement.
Well. That surely deserves an “As always, we await developments.”
But seriously, this is at least something for the teams dependent on Diamond Sports/Bally to carry their games. It seems likely all those teams will have to figure out some other way to broadcast games by 2025. But at least this buys them some time.