• Loading stock data...
Monday, May 20, 2024

MLB Team Broadcasts Threatened As DSG-Comcast Dispute Escalates

  • The Bally Sports parent posts an open letter to fans, encouraging fans to complain to Comcast.
  • The dispute is another escalation in an already-tough landscape for all regional sports networks.
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

With a little more than a month to go before Diamond Sports Group attempts to get legal confirmation of its bankruptcy reorganization plan, the company’s distribution dispute with Comcast is now taking a much more public and angry turn. 

Less than a week after the end of a prior DSG-Comcast carriage agreement and resulting blackout of those channels to consumers, the Bally Sports parent went on the offensive by issuing a lengthy statement and open letter to fans, all aimed at pointing blame at the No. 2 U.S. cable carrier. 

“[Comcast’s] Xfinity hasn’t been willing to engage in meaningful discussions, nor will they put the channels back on while we continue to work through this,” DSG’s letter read in part.

As DSG also prompted fans to send Comcast their own letter, prewritten by DSG, in protest of the blackout, the company went on to say that “Comcast Xfinity’s extreme stance is hurting fans, leagues, and teams.”

DSG went on to say that “the stakes are high” in the Comcast dispute, and there is little debate on that front. The company is due to bring that reorganization plan to the bankruptcy court for approval June 18. DSG has previously said that its prior deals with Charter, Comcast, and DirecTV collectively represent about 81% of its total distribution revenue, and that distribution revenue forms the vast majority of the entire Bally Sports business. Beyond those industry-leading carriers, DSG networks also are not carried on major entities such as YouTube TV, Dish Network, and Hulu Live. 

Comcast disputed many parts of DSG’s public statements, particularly the claim that it is unwilling to engage in talks. 

“Bally Sports chose not to exercise a right to extend their contract and they declined multiple offers, so now we no longer have the rights to their programming,” Comcast said in a statement provided to Front Office Sports. “Nearly 70% of our customers who received these networks didn’t watch them. We are moving forward with our plan to proactively credit millions of customers for the costs associated with them. Most will automatically receive $8 to $10 per month in credits.”

Broader Implications

The DSG-Comcast battle in part represents a particular flash point in an ongoing struggle for regional sports networks of all types to adapt to a rapidly changing media landscape that includes accelerating cord-cutting, as well as increasing pushback on many fronts to the costs associated with RSN programming. 

In the meantime, individual pro teams carried by the affected Bally Sports RSNs, and their fans, are directly impacted by a carriage battle in which they have no direct role. MLB’s Braves, Marlins, Tigers, and Twins are among those foremost feeling the initial brunt of the blackout. 

“We are disappointed in the stalled negotiation between Bally Sports Detroit and Comcast, and the inconvenience it may cause for Tigers fans,” the club said. “The Tigers have no voice in the matter, but are hopeful the two sides will come to an agreement as soon as possible.”

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Apr 17, 2024; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Arizona Coyotes left wing Lawson Crouse (67) celebrates after scoring a goal during the third period against the Edmonton Oilers at Mullett Arena.

New Stadiums, New Hurdles: Coyotes and A’s Face High Stakes

The former Coyotes owner takes further steps to try to advance his proposed arena project.

PGA Championship Drama Nearly Delivers a Major Boost to LIV Golf

Xander Schauffele takes home $3.3 million for his victory.

Mets Owner Faces Backlash After Tweet Sparks Trade Speculation

Mets owner Steve Cohen is walking back a now deleted tweet that further riled an impatient fan base.

DSG’s Path to Revival Faces Major Pushback from MLB, NBA, and NHL

Three major pro leagues raise further concerns about the bankrupt Bally Sports parent.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Bare Knuckle Fighting Comes Out of the Shadows


Featured Today

Michael Block signs autographs on the 18th hole during day three of practice for the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club on Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

‘I Prefer It This Way’: How Life Works for PGA Club Pros

Here’s how life works for the qualifiers at golf’s second major.
February 5, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; The grounds of the Capitol Building empty out following the conclusion of President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech on February 5, 2019.
May 18, 2024

‘A Breathtaking Lobbying Campaign’: The NCAA’s Sophisticated Effort to Save Amateurism

Inside the carefully coordinated, multimillion-dollar operation to end the athletes’ rights era.
May 14, 2024

The WNBA Was Forged in Houston. Why Won’t It Go Back There?

Houston’s a perfect fit for expansion. The league isn’t considering it yet.
May 9, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) stands with the team during the national anthem on Thursday, May 9, 2024, during the preseason game against the Atlanta Dream at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
May 12, 2024

‘Perfect Storm’: The Rise of Local WNBA Broadcast Pacts

With national attention reaching new heights, regional coverage could dictate the future.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers

NFL’s Christmas Shake-Up: Netflix and Amazon Will Take It Over in ’25

This is the new-age NFL, where anything goes, if the price is right.
May 15, 2024

NFL’s Schedule Points to Network Strategies: Chiefs Lead, Texans Rise

The two-time defending champions are a fixture across many of the league’s tentpole events.
May 16, 2024

Amazon’s Thursday Night Fever: Banking on Caitlin Clark’s Impact

Clark makes her home debut for the Indiana Fever on Thursday night.

Major League Rugby’s Vision for American Rugby

How Major League Rugby is leading the Rugby renaissance in the U.S.
May 15, 2024

Caitlin Clark Debuts With WNBA’s Most-Watched Game in Decades

The game averaged 2.12 million viewers, the WNBA’s highest since 2001.
May 15, 2024

MLB Slams Bally Sports Parent, Calls Blackout of Several Teams ‘Harmful’

The league blasts the bankrupt Bally Sports parent in a new court filing.
May 15, 2024

NFL Signs Three-Year Christmas Day Deal With Netflix

The streamer will show two holiday games in 2024 and one apiece in ’25 and ’26.
May 14, 2024

Want to Stream Live Sports? Better Know Your Bundle Options First

Comcast’s new StreamSaver bundle adds to a fast-growing number of combined offerings.