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Diamond Sports Group, Twins, Guardians, Diamondbacks, and Rangers ordered to receive full payment.


Jun 2, 2023

On June 1, 2023, a U.S. bankruptcy judge ruled in favor of Major League Baseball and four of its teams. The ruling was against Bally Sports’ name, Diamond Sports Group, which was filing for bankruptcy. Diamond Sports Group operates a broadcast on Broadcasting and owed more than $8 billion to buy the station. The four teams receiving payment were Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Guardians, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Texas Rangers. The ruling was that Diamond would have to pay the remaining 25%, but without a set deadline for payment.

The Twins, Guardians, D-backs, and Rangers previously received 75% of the outstanding amount as a means of holding them until the hearings were completed. The teams argued that they should pay less since the rapid cord cuts had decreased their value significantly. However, Judge Christopher Lopez presided over the case for two full days, including testimony from MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. He ultimately decided that “the contract rate is the right answer here.”

Sinclair’s subsidiary, Diamond, had owned the rights to 14 Major League teams but lost to the San Diego Padres earlier that week after scheduled rights payments were not made before the end of the grace period. Since then, MLB has taken over the Padres broadcast and is offering the game blackout. While it’s free to watch through streaming service MLB.TV, it has deals with various cable companies to offer linear options on various channels. The league promised to do the same for other teams outside of Diamond’s jurisdiction.

The judge’s ruling could force Diamond to sell the D-backs, Guardians, Twins, Rangers, or some of its other nine major league teams shortly. However, Diamond has long said that it needs to secure the streaming rights to do so. To strengthen the Bally Sports+ app and run a more sustainable business, five Major League Baseball teams currently hold streaming rights (Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins).

MLB has shown no interest in offering streaming rights to other teams. In testimony on Wednesday, Manfred said MLB had promised the franchises to generate at least 80% of their projected revenue through broadcast deals in 2023. Anything Diamond didn’t pay in the end would backstop the league. Manfred also stated that MLB had tried to buy RSN when it went on sale but was approximately $900 million short of Diamond’s winning bid. He added that he plans to buy again when the situation arises.

By Editor

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