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Diamond Sports Hold Three MLB Clubs ‘Captive’

  • Twins, Guardians, and Diamondbacks say in filing they have not been compensated.
  • Diamond is attempting to restructure its $8 billion in debt in bankruptcy.
Bally Sports reporter interviews Detroit Lions player
Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Nearly two weeks into the MLB season, Minnesota Twins, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Cleveland Guardians games can still be found on Diamond Sports-owned Bally Sports networks. 

Fans still have to pay through their TV providers or Bally Sports’ streaming service to watch, and the three teams said in court filings that Bally parent Diamond Sports Group “are functionally holding the clubs captive.”

Diamond Sports filed for bankruptcy protection last month, as the Sinclair subsidiary seeks to restructure about $8 billion in debt. 

  • In its emergency filing on Wednesday, attorneys wrote that Diamond Sports continues “to consume the Diamondbacks’ product without paying for it.”
  • Lawyers for the Twins and Guardians wrote in an emergency motion filed Tuesday that Diamond is using the teams’ “unique and exclusive intellectual property without paying a single penny for it.”
  • Diamond Sports has paid “every single other NBA, NHL, and MLB team other than the amounts due” outside the Twins, Guardians, and Diamondbacks, per the same filing.

In a filing on Monday, Diamond Sports wrote that it expects to request approval to pay “only the reasonable value of the rights” to teams as the bankruptcy case moves forward. Lawyers for Diamond Sports requested a May 12 hearing highlighting “expert testimony on the current value of the rights under the contracts.”

“Only after defaulting on their payment obligations do the debtors even raise the fanciful argument that they can choose to not pay the agreed-upon contractual rate,” lawyers for the Twins and Guardians wrote.

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