Diamond Sports ordered to pay Rangers, Twins, Guardians and D-Backs in full after bankruptcy filing

Diamond Sports will have to pay in full its contracts with four MLB teams after filing for bankruptcy in March.  (Photo by Jim Sugar/Corbis via Getty Images)

Diamond Sports will have to pay in full its contracts with four MLB teams after filing for bankruptcy in March. (Photo by Jim Sugar/Corbis via Getty Images)

Diamond Sports is reportedly over $8 billion in debt, but that won’t stop the company from paying off some of its MLB contracts in full. Diamond Sports will have to pay the full value of its contracts with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Guardians, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers, a judge ruled Thursday.

Diamond Sports, owner of Bally Sports, which owns a series of networks showing MLB games, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March. Last fall, the company claimed to have $8.67 billion in debt.

Following the filing, a judge initially ruled that Diamond Sports would be responsible for reimbursing the teams half of what was owed to them. Thursday’s ruling, by federal judge Christopher Lopez, changed that ruling, making Diamond Sports liable for all of its contracts with the Diamondbacks, Guardians, Rangers and Twins.

Diamond Sports owns the broadcast rights to 13 MLB teams. The company, along with Sinclair Broadcast Group, bought those rights for nearly $10 billion in 2019.

The bankruptcy filing raised questions about whether Bally Sports would continue to broadcast games throughout the 2023 MLB season. MLB said it would take back the broadcast rights if Diamond Sports stopped making payments.

This scenario occurred on Wednesday, when MLB took over the rights to broadcast games from the San Diego Padres. Diamond Sports reportedly missed a payment on its Padres contract on Tuesday, forcing MLB to intervene. If MLB takes over the teams, the league has agreed to pay those teams up to 80% of the original rights contract.

MLB welcomed Lopez’s decision in a statement Thursday, according to The Associated Press.

Major League Baseball said in a statement late Thursday, “MLB appreciates the Houston Federal Bankruptcy Court’s decision requiring Diamond to pay the full contract rate to the clubs. As always, we hope Diamond will continue to broadcast matches and meet its contractual obligations to Clubs. As with the Padres, MLB will stand ready to make games available to fans if Diamond fails to meet its obligations.

In her decision, Lopez stressed the importance of making sure fans know when and where they can watch their favorite team’s games during the 2023 MLB season.

“I don’t really answer the questions that the real fans have, the people coming home from work, the family facing increased costs who just want to know they can come home and watch their team for the rest of the season, and where she’s going to watch their team play,” Lopez said. “These questions are open and it’s not for me to make the decision. my limits.

Lopez said he was not responsible for the call and urged Diamond Sports and MLB to continue discussing the situation.

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