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Saturday, March 2, 2024

Rangers Are Latest Pro Team to Back Out of RSN Deal

  • Teams taking sports rights from troubled RSNs.
  • Diamond Sports filed for bankruptcy this week.
Texas Rangers looking for a new TV partner.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Texas Rangers aren’t waiting for troubled Diamond Sports to emerge from its bankruptcy reorganization.

The Rangers notified the company they want to end their media rights deal with Diamond’s Bally Sports, as stated in Diamond’s Chapter 11 filing on Tuesday, according to The Athletic

Diamond’s 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks control rights deals to 42 pro teams: 14 MLB clubs, 16 NBA teams, and 12 NHL franchises. 

The company said its RSNs would continue to operate normally during its reorganization, but Diamond’s partners at MLB are getting restless. 

MLB is building out a local television group under executive Billy Chambers that can step into the breach. Under this scenario, MLB Network would show localized versions of games rather than Bally RSN’s.

“Major League Baseball is ready to produce and distribute games to fans in their local markets in the event that Diamond or any other regional sports network is unable to do so as required by their agreement with our clubs,” said the league. 

“Having streamed live games on MLB.TV for more than 20 years and produced live games for MLB Network since 2009, we have the experience and capabilities to deliver games to fans uninterrupted.”

The Rangers aren’t the only pro franchise trying to claw back media rights from troubled RSNs. 

MLB’s Houston Astros and the NBA’s Houston Rockets are in talks to take over their cable TV partner, AT&T SportsNet Southwest. 

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