Minnesota Twins Back on Bally Sports; Blackout & Streaming Issues Remain Unfixed… for Now
For a handful of years now, Minnesota Twins fans all over the midwest have been dealing with TV blackouts, streaming issues and a plethora of other difficulties in trying to watch their favorite baseball team play games on television or via livestream.
Minnesota Twins + New Deal with Bally Sports North: What We Know
Unfortunately, it appears those frustrations may continue to exist in 2024, after details of a new one-year contract between the Twins and Bally Sports North were released late Friday morning. The new agreement still needs to be approved by a bankruptcy judge next week, but the expectation is that approval won’t be a problem.
In the finer details of the contract, as tweeted out here by MLB insider Evan Drellich (The Athletic), a clause appears to restrict both the Twins and Bally Sports North from selling or offering any direct to consumer streaming options during the 2024 season.
One note: Although they have retained their streaming rights, Guardians, Rangers, Twins are *not* in position to do something else with them *this* year. All three teams have a variant of the below highlighted clause, using the Twins as an example: pic.twitter.com/hxgON95i09— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 2, 2024
In other words, the Twins/MLB did NOT sell their streaming rights to Diamond Sports Group (parent company of Bally Sports), as part of this new one-year contract. So as of now, Bally Sports North does not have the authority to offer standalone live streams of Minnesota Twins games directly to a consumer.
This part of the contract is not surprising. Earlier in the week, when this deal was getting close to the finish line, it was reported that the Twins, along with the MLB, did not want to release streaming rights to Diamond Sports Group (Bally) as part of the rumored (at the time) new one-year deal.
What was a bit surprising is the restrictions included for the Minnesota Twins and MLB. They cannot sell their direct-to-consumer streaming rights to a 3rd party for the 2024 season, nor can they stream games directly to fans themselves, without local blackout restrictions coming into play.
Meaning, as of now, nothing about Minnesota Twins broadcasts in 2024 will be different from what fans dealt with during the 2023 season, or in seasons prior. Unless Bally Sports North is offered as part of your…
- Catch-All Stream-Only package – Only option currently is Fubo (My Recommendation)
- Cable TV package – Spectrum, Xfinity, etc.
- DirecTV package (also offers stream-only option)
… you still can’t watch the Minnesota Twins this season, as things currently stand.
What's happening right now is a one-year band-aid that basically runs back the status quo, for a year, and keeps the teams getting paid. What happens for 2025 and beyond is the question https://t.co/L2rkmlQXl8— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) February 2, 2024
Any good news…?
There are some out there who are holding out hope that this is only the first step in a multi-step process that eventually lands Twins games on Amazon Prime this summer. Diamond Sports Group doesn’t own streaming rights for the Minnesota Twins, or nine other teams that they have TV broadcast rights for.
But for the five teams that they do own streaming rights for, those teams will move over to Amazon Prime as soon as this season. Optimists out there believe another round of negotiations between the MLB, Bally and Amazon will begin, regarding the remaining teams’ streaming future in 2024, after this process is wrapped up.
Remember, this initial contract had already missed multiple deadlines and was under a lot of pressure from the bankruptcy court to get done. Now that it is complete, some of the details they couldn’t agree on under the gun, could, in theory, be revisited.
Don’t lose hope on Twins streaming. I think what the court is doing is not assuming the Diamond-Amazon deal gets done until that’s approved. If that goes through, I’m guessing Twins are streamed by Amazon for a year. Remember, bankruptcy court doesn’t care about fans reaction.— Judd Zulgad (@jzulgad) February 2, 2024