Teams could be cutting payrolls without the sizable cable TV checks.
Major League Baseball is facing a brave new world. The payments from one of the industry’s cable TV partners, Bally Sports, is disappearing because Bally Sports’ parent company Diamond Sports Group is bankrupt. Diamond Sports Group has seen partnerships end with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres franchises. Five franchises, Atlanta, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee and Texas, wanted nothing to do with Diamond Sports Group’s request for time to reorganize its business financially. The Minnesota Twins ownership’s deal with the Diamond Sports Group, Bally Sports North, ended at the close of the 2023 season. Twins ownership is now looking at how to replace nearly $55 million that the team received from Bally Sports North in 2023. The answer for now seems to be cutting the Minnesota Twins’ franchise payroll.
Bally Sports had also had contracts with the Miami Marlins ownership and the ownerships of the Kansas City Royals, the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cincinnati Reds, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Tampa Bay Rays. Diamond Sports Group’s ownership was hoping to keep the baseball teams’ games on its platform through 2024. It appears there will be a lot less money available for the players if those various baseball teams remain with Bally Sports through 2024 or find new TV and streaming partners because over-the-air TV partners are not going to spend the amount of money that cable TV rights holders sent their way and it figures to be difficult to get big money from streaming services. Arte Moreno’s Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim had a $150 million payment from Diamond Sports Group in 2022. Diamond Sports Group is the largest owner of regional sports networks in the United States, In March, Diamond Sports Group announced that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In February, it missed a $140 million interest payment. The cable TV gravy train for sports owners is ending.
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