MLB resumes broadcasts from Padres after bankrupt Diamond Sports Group misses payment of rights, report says

The dominoes of the Diamond Sports Group bankruptcy filing are starting to hit hard.

Owner of broadcast rights to 14 different MLB teams (plus 16 NBA teams, 12 NHL teams and four WNBA teams) will lose rights to San Diego Padres after missing deadline to pay his fee to the team, according to Sports Business Journal.

Because of the missed payment, the Padres’ broadcast rights will revert to the club and MLB will directly resume broadcasts from San Diego, as MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the league would do in February.

The development wouldn’t mean a huge upheaval for fans, at least in the short term. The MLB-produced show will use the same announcers, who were already employees of the team, and many of the same producers, directors and cameramen. MLB would also broadcast the games for free through Sunday while making them available through outlets such as Fubo, DirecTV, Cox and Charter.

LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 08: A detail view of a Bally Sports microphone laying on the field after being used for an interview prior to the spring training game between the Detroit Tigers and the Washington Nationals at Publix Field from the Joker Marchant Stadium on March 8, 2023 in Lakeland, Florida.  The Tigers beat the Nationals 2-1.  (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

MLB has been preparing for a television rights shake-up for years. He could now be here, starting with the Padres. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

The development will end a 20-year, $1.2 billion deal for Bally Sports San Diego that was to run through 2032. The deal would have been a loser for Diamond, which said in a statement to SBJ that he still had the money to pay for the deal, but said MLB’s refusal to budge on the broadcast rights forced their hand:

“Although DSG has ample cash and has made rights payments to teams, the Padres’ contract economics were not aligned with market realities. MLB has forced our hand through its persistent refusal to negotiate the direct-to-consumer (DTC) rights for all teams in our portfolio despite our offer to pay each team in full in exchange for these rights. We continue to broadcast games for teams under our contracts.”

The potential loss of cable rights revenue has been an issue MLB has faced for years as cable cutters increasingly bite into the bottom line of a vital part of the league’s business. There are plenty of long-term routes Manfred and company could take from here, but the immediate question is how many broadcasts from other teams the league will have to manage.

Will other MLB teams have their broadcasts dropped?

There could be other teams in the Padres’ boat very soon, although the situation in San Diego was apparently a bit different since the club owns a stake in Bally Sports San Diego.

Diamond Sports Group is reportedly awaiting a ruling from a bankruptcy judge on Wednesday on whether or not it can reduce its duty payments to other teams during its bankruptcy. Diamond would also be willing to pay all of its rights fees to teams in exchange for access to streaming rights.

In addition to the Padres, the following teams have games broadcast by a Bally network: Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals , Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays.

Leave a Comment