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Baseball Games Will Air Despite Uncertainty Surrounding RSNs

  • San Diego Padres received payment from Diamond Sports before midnight deadline.
  • Diamond's Bally RSNs have rights to 14 Major League Baseball teams.
Bally Sports to broadcast games on Opening Day.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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With Opening Day here, there’s more questions than answers about the future of struggling regional sports networks carrying MLB games this season.

The only new development is in San Diego, where the Padres dodged a bullet when Diamond Sports paid its multimillion rights fee on Wednesday.

The local RSN made its payment just before a midnight deadline, said a source familiar with negotiations, so Bally Sports San Diego will televise the Padres’ opener against the Colorado Rockies on Thursday. 

Even though the RSN’s parent Diamond Sports has filed for bankruptcy, the deal looks like a smart business move. The stacked Padres boast a fabulous foursome of young stars, with Xander Bogaerts, Manny Machado, Juan Soto, and Fernando Tatis Jr., and appear to have enough firepower to make a run for their first World Series title.

That could spell big TV audiences and strong advertising sales for the Bally RSN.

If Diamond Sports didn’t pay the Padres, the league was prepared to show the local games itself, either on linear channels, streaming platforms, or both. 

“With our experience operating MLB Network since 2009 and streaming games for more than 20 years, MLB Media has the capabilities, technology, experience, and relationships to produce and distribute games centrally,” MLB chief revenue officer Noah Garden told FOS.

Diamond’s Bally RSNs have rights to 14 MLB teams.

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