So far this winter the Minnesota Twins have been stuck between a rock and a hard place. The rock is the need to improve the roster, notably replace Cy Young runner-up Sonny Gray, with the hard place being fears over lost future revenue due to ongoing drama with the team’s local TV deal.
To be clear, right now there is no TV deal, which is causing all of the issues.
Diamond Sports Group went bankrupt last year and in doing so voided deals with all of the regional networks it was operating. Bally Sport North was one of them, and the Twins deal with Diamond was thrust into chaos.
Unlike some of the other teams impacted, the Twins deal expired at the end of the season so all of the legal drama that has been happening doesn’t impact them as much as others. Regardless, the main takeaway is that the team doesn’t have a deal to broadcast games locally next year with the rights currently being tied up in this whole bankruptcy mess.
All of that is being used as an excuse to not spend on improving the roster. Minnesota has signed exactly one Major League free agent — reliever Josh Staumont — but he’s coming off a neck injury and it’s unclear if he’ll start the season healthy.
Something that can turn the facet on, so to speak, is the Twins figuring out what’s next for its television rights. Not only will it give the team the ability to spend (maybe) but it will let fans know where they can watch the team next season.
Twins president Dave St. Peter gives latest update on local TV deal
Things kicked off at TwinsFest this weekend with team president David St. Peter addressing the elephant in the room — what’s up with the local TV deal?
He gave a very long non-answer, essentially saying nothing while letting everyone know the team is working on it. He did mention that the situation is out of their hands, which is even less encouraging than it sounded.
"Despite short-term unknowns and challenges, the long-term prognosis around local media and baseball is really, really good. We have great content and there's a tremendous amount of interest in that content,” St. Peter said.
Right now the buzzy solution is Amazon stepping in. One possible out come, which seems more likely by the day, is Twins fans being able to stream games locally on Amazon Prime. It would almost certainly come with some sort of subscription fee but anything will be better than Bally Sports North and worth the price paid.
We will have to wait until the beginning of February to hear more, which is likely why St. Peter gave a corporate non-answer to the question. When the season ended in October we didn’t think that these were the sorts of frustrating conversations we’d be having at TwinsFest, yet here we are.