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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
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Cincinnati Reds Could Be Latest to Square Off Against Diamond

  • The Reds own a minority stake in Bally Sports Ohio, keeping it out of Diamond's bankruptcy proceedings.
  • MLB could reportedly take over control of Bally Sports Ohio from Diamond Sports starting early next month.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Diamond Sports hasn’t made rights fees payments on time in several MLB cities — and it looks like Cincinnati is next.

The Reds’ situation, however, is a bit different from some other MLB markets, notes the Sports Business Journal

The Reds own a minority stake in Bally Sports Ohio, which has allowed the RSN to be kept separate from the bankruptcy case Diamond filed in March to restructure $8 billion in debt. 

Diamond — which owes the majority of Bally Sports Ohio — will likely not pay its rights fee on time to the Reds. If it fails to do so within a 15-day grace period, MLB reportedly expects to retain the Reds’ local broadcast rights, starting with the team’s series against the White Sox in the first week of May — thus allowing the league to take over production of games.

If MLB does retain the rights, the league reportedly has “handshake agreements” with providers such as DirecTV and Spectrum Cable to carry games in the Cincinnati market.

Diamond Sports, a Sinclair subsidiary, owns 19 Bally Sports-branded RSNs. The Texas Rangers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Guardians, and Minnesota Twins have all filed motions against Diamond for missed rights fee payments.

A bankruptcy judge is expected to rule next month on who controls rights to RSNs fully owned by Diamond, which has thus far not missed airing any games despite its failure to make payments.

The Angels, Cardinals, Marlins, Padres, and Royals — like the Reds — all have part ownership in their Bally Sports RSNs.

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