Tuesday October 3, 2023

MLB Files Emergency Motion, Could Terminate RSN Deals

  • Three MLB clubs have not been paid: the Guardians, Twins and Diamondbacks.
  • MLB seeking an order to terminate the deals by April 13.
Cleveland Guardians
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
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Major League Baseball appears to be running out of patience with bankrupt media company Diamond Sports.

MLB filed an emergency motion asking the court to compel Diamond’s Bally Sports regional sports networks to make their overdue payments to the Cleveland Guardians and Minnesota Twins, according to The Athletic.

Bally RSNs hold media rights to 14 MLB teams and Diamond has been trying to thread the needle by cherry-picking the best deals.

It’s making payments to teams with favorable contractual terms such as the loaded San Diego Padres and trying to cut ties with clubs, with which it doesn’t have favorable contractual terms.

  • Three MLB clubs reportedly haven’t been paid yet: the Guardians, Twins, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • In the meantime, there’s been no interruption in coverage, as the embattled Bally RSNs continue to show games. 
  • MLB is seeking an order by April 13 that would allow it to terminate the deals and let teams take back their media rights.
Diamond Sports Guardians

Diamond Sports In Danger of Missing Guardians Payment

Bally pays the Guardians between $47 million and $52 million per year.
April 3, 2023

The legal motion is being closely followed around MLB, and more teams could join the motion, according to the Athletic, including the Diamondbacks, Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers, Tampa Rays, and Texas Rangers.

There’s big money at stake, especially for smaller-market clubs.

The Guardians are due an annual rights fee of $55 million, while the Twins are due $42 million, sources told The Athletic.

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