NEW YORK — The bankrupt Diamond Sports Group met Thursday’s deadline to pay rights fees due to the Texas Rangers — but whether it will do so for three more MLB clubs by July 1 and others down the line is anybody’s guess.
At owners meetings in New York, league commissioner Rob Manfred confirmed that the Rangers received the full rights fee due to the club following a recent court ruling. The deadline had been heavily anticipated given DSG’s recent decision to abandon its rights for the San Diego Padres.
The Rangers payment, however, doesn’t give a clear indication regarding payments due in less than three weeks to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Guardians, and Minnesota Twins, as well as one to the Cincinnati Reds in a month.
“We’re kind of going day-to-day,” Manfred said in response to a Front Office Sports question on the RSN situation.
The league’s ongoing reckoning with regional sports networks dominated much of the discussion at MLB owners meetings this week in New York as league and club officials look to recreate one of the sport’s decades-old economic bedrocks on the fly.
But Manfred said he was pleased with initial fan response to MLB’s production and distribution of Padres games, several of which topped season-long audience averages.
“It’s really important for all our clubs, and our [DSG] clubs in particular to realize how smoothly it has gone standing the games up in San Diego,” Manfred said. “And we’ve had a really positive response on the direct-to-consumer side there.”