MLB, Bally Sports Delay Bankruptcy Hearing as Negotiations Over Twins, Others Heat Up

Photo: Katie Emmer Storm (@KatieStorm - X)

The Minnesota Twins’ TV contract with Diamond Sports Group (parent company of Bally Sports) expired after the 2023 season and the team does not currently have a plan in place for how they will broadcast or stream games on television in 2024.

Related: Minnesota Twins Could Receive Financial Lifeline Soon via New TV Deal

But that could change soon. According to Evan Drellich (The Athletic), a bankruptcy hearing that was supposed to bring clarity to which MLB teams Bally Sports would be televising on their regional networks for the 2024 season has been pushed back 10 days, from Wednesday, Jan. 10 to Friday, Jan. 29.

A bankruptcy hearing Wednesday afternoon that could have brought some clarity around which MLB teams will be seen on Bally regional sports networks this season has been pushed back 10 days, according to a court filing Tuesday night.

Evan Drellich – The Athletic

Minnesota Twins, Guardians and Rangers holding up negotiations

Why? Because the MLB and Diamond Sports have been making progress through mediators and believe they can get a 2024 TV/streaming deal agreed to that would keep them out of the courtroom. Apparently, the TV and streaming rights for the Twins, Rangers and Guardians have become a major hold up in negotiations.

The delay appears a signal that the sides believe they have a chance to reach a deal on their own, if allowed extra time.”“The talks have focused on three teams, per testimony in court. Two are the World Series champion Rangers and the Guardians, teams that Diamond intends to continue broadcasting in 2024 only on revised terms.”

The third team, people briefed on the proceedings said, is a club that Diamond previously broadcast, but technically does not have the rights to at the moment: the Twins. The Twins’ deal with Diamond expired following last season, but a new and revised arrangement has been under negotiation.

Evan Drellich – The Athletic

Dealings with Amazon affecting negotiations between MLB and Diamond Sports

But the streaming side of negotiations bring more teams into the fold. Bally Sports only owns the rights to five of the 11 teams that they currently hold TV rights to. With the Twins, they have neither. In 2024, streaming rights are very valuable, especially when Amazon is involved as a possible MLB streaming partner.

Related: Future of Minnesota Twins Infield Looks Bright

Obviously, Diamond Sports wants the streaming rights for all of the teams they hold TV rights for. Problem is, Major League Baseball does not want to sell them those rights, as part of any deal. They are trying to cut out the middle man (Bally’s) and work their streaming partnership with Amazon directly.

Amazon has shown interest in investing in Diamond, but Diamond holds only five MLB teams’ digital streaming rights: the Brewers’, Marlins’, Rays’, Royals’ and Tigers’. MLB and Diamond have long been at odds over the value of various MLB teams’ digital rights, and MLB would rather deal directly with Amazon than give Diamond increased digital rights in the long term, people briefed on the talks said.

Evan Drellich – The Athletic

It will be very interesting to see how all of this plays out. The MLB seems to have the upper-hand for now, with Diamond Sports Group backed into a bankruptcy corner.

To put fans at ease, it’s been widely reported that, no matter who gets streaming rights for the Minnesota Twins, it will be a lot easier to watch games this season and that blackouts will no longer exist. We’ll keep you updated.

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