Earlier this year it was rumored that Diamond Sports Group, which owns Bally Sports North, was going bankrupt. This meant that there was some uncertainty about how Minnesota Twins games would be broadcast since the network that owned the rights to air the games was essentially going belly-up.
MLB has stepped in to make sure that while Diamond Sports Group sorts itself out, fans won’t be impacted by the ongoing drama. It’s very likely that MLB goes to war with its rights partner over this, as it released a statement late Tuesday night addressing the issue by reassuring fans and using threatening language toward Diamond Sports Group.
“Diamond Sports Group’s bankruptcy declaration today is an unfortunate development that we have been expecting. Despite Diamond’s economic situation, there is every expectation tat they will continue televising all games they are committed to during the bankruptcy process. Major League Baseball is ready to produce and distribute games to fans in their local markets in the event that Diamond or any other regional sports network is unable to do so as required by their agreement with our Clubs,” MLB said in its statement.
Notice how much the league mentions the agreement that DSG has and how it expects the company to honor it? Would hate to be the guys in that board room right now.
MLB continued with the pointed shots at Diamond by mentioning that it’s been able to do what DSG seemingly can’t for the last two decades.
“Having streamed live games on MLB.tv for more than 20 years and produced live games for MLB Network since 2009, we have the experience and capabilities to deliver games to fans uninterrupted,” the statement continued. “In addition, we have hired additional seasoned local media professionals to bolster out capabilities in anticipation of this development. Over the long term, we will reimagine our distribution model to address the changing media climate and ultimately reach an even larger number of fans.”
Putting aside all of the courtroom drama, fans really only care about how they’ll be able to watch games in areas that carry Bally Sports Networks. That’s where the good news comes into play.
How Bally Sports bankruptcy impacts Twins games on TV in 2023
Making matters more stressful for Twins fans is the fact that the team is actually worth watching this year. The whole Bally Sports North drama seemed to put fans ability to watch games in jeopardy, but part of MLB’s plan is to make sure games are easily accessible for those in the affected markets.
According to The New York Post, MLB will offer games for free in markets where Bally Sports operates so that fans will still be able to watch games.
“Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred will have the league take over the local broadcasts of the money-losing teams and stream them for free in their respective local markets as he negotiates with their cable companies for lower contracts, a source with knowledge of the discussions said,” Josh Kosman reported on Tuesday.
There’s a lot to this, so let’s cliff notes some key takeaways in terms of what happens next:
- If needed, MLB will take over production of broadcasts in the 14 affected markets
- Games will be distributed for free while a deal is worked out
- Local media personalities will be employed by MLB as part of this plan
- If deals are reached, the league plans to offer over-the-top service for around $15 per month
This all means Twins Territory can breathe easy as MLB sorts out the mess and figures out a path forward. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, but for now Twins games will remain on television locally and perhaps be easier to access than they were under the old Bally Sports North ownership.