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Diamond Sports In Danger of Missing Guardians Payment

  • Bally Sports Great Lakes was scheduled to make its first rights payment to the Guardians on Saturday.
  • Bally will have a 10-day grace period to make good on its obligations.
Diamond Sports Guardians
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The fallout from Diamond Sports’ bankruptcy has now hit Cleveland, where a regional sports network could miss a payment on rights fees.

Bally Sports Great Lakes was scheduled to make its first rights payment for the 2023 season to MLB’s Cleveland Guardians on Saturday, but it’s “unlikely” the payment was delivered, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer.

Still, Bally will have a 10-day grace period to make good on its obligations. Bally pays the Guardians between $47 million and $52 million per year. The contract runs through 2027, and unlike other team deals, Bally pays the Guardian in installments rather than one annual fee.

If Bally stiffs the Guardians, MLB is prepared to step in and show games with no lost coverage.

“No matter what, we’re confident our games will be on TV in some manner,” said Curtis Danburg, Guardians vice president of communications. “We don’t expect any disruption to our fans being able to watch the games on TV.”

The dustup between Bally and the Guardians follows a similar situation in San Diego. 

The San Diego Padres dodged a bullet when the local Bally RSN dropped its rights fee to the club before a midnight deadline.

Diamond’s Bally Sports controls media rights to 14 MLB clubs across the country, but filed for bankruptcy on March 15 after missing a $140 million interest payment. 

In its filing, Diamond cited $8.7 billion in debts. 

As it inches its way through a Chapter 11 reorganization, Bally is looking to keep the most profitable rights deals and dump the rest — including those with the Guardians, Cincinnati Reds, and Arizona Diamondbacks, according to the Plain-Dealer.

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