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Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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MLB Could Air Up To 16 Teams in 2024 As DSG Issues Worsen

  • League prepares to step up on behalf of clubs amid RSN crisis
  • DSG continues to face wide range of challenges in ongoing reorganization effort
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Amid the accelerating collapse of the regional sports network business and Diamond Sports Group’s ongoing bankruptcy proceedings, MLB is ready to step up on behalf of its clubs in unprecedented fashion.

After taking over the production and distribution of the San Diego Padres’ and Arizona Diamondbacks’ broadcasts in 2023, commissioner Rob Manfred said the league could assume a similar role for as many as 16 teams next year.

Besides the Padres and Diamondbacks, that would include 12 other clubs that have been served by DSG, plus the Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies. The latter duo’s games were previously aired on networks owned by Warner Bros. Discovery but now face uncertain futures of their own as that company exits the RSN business.

“We have an unserved audience out there that is an economic opportunity for us to reach fans that we’re not reaching,” Manfred said. “It doesn’t have today the same robust economics that the cable funded provided, but … we’re going to put it with that digital option that gives people more flexibility, more reach, and [is] better for fans overall.”

Manfred’s comments follow the league’s recent filings with a U.S. bankruptcy court in Texas looking for immediate answers on DSG’s plans for next year.

“We need to know who they want to continue to broadcast and who they don’t want to continue to broadcast so that we can make plans in order to deliver games to our fans,” Manfred said. “Until we have a feel for that, it’s very difficult to give the teams a realistic view of what the economics are going to be.”

DSG Dilemma

DSG continues to have its own issues that make it difficult to answer MLB’s questions. The company’s embattled reorganization efforts are facing additional challenges from its creditors, distributors, pro teams in other sports, and even its own parent company, Sinclair Inc.

Earlier this month, DirecTV offered another grim assessment of DSG’s progress.

“Despite more than seven months in Chapter 11, the debtors seem to have failed to shore up both the supply (team rights) and revenues (distribution) sides of their business,” the satellite carrier told the bankruptcy court.

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