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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Short-Term Needs Fuel Surprise Revival of Twins-DSG Rights Talks

  • Minnesota is reportedly in active talks with the RSN operator after the two previously parted ways.
  • A deal for the 2024 season would help advance the broader goals for both entities.
Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

An unlikely reunion appears to be in the works between the Minnesota Twins and Diamond Sports Group, and it could prove crucial to the short-term needs of both entities.

The Twins’ prior contract with the bankrupt parent of the Bally Sports regional sports networks ended with the conclusion of the 2023 season, and there has been no expectation of a new deal being struck. Club officials even talked openly about the likelihood of lowering player spending in 2024, in part because of the uncertain local media rights situation. 

But the Twins are now in active talks with Bally Sports North about returning next season, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, with the RSN said to have expressed “strong and sincere interest” in the club. 

Back From the Dead?

The revival of a rights relationship thought to be kaput would represent a financial lifeline for the Twins that is perhaps not available anywhere else. DSG paid the team $54.8 million in 2023 for its local broadcast rights, and while a 2024 deal is unlikely to match that number, other options, such as turning to MLB for the production and distribution of games, would introduce more changes for fans and more uncertainty for the club. 

For DSG, the potential Twins reunion is separate but thematically related to a larger deal the company has in development with 11 other MLB teams that are still contracted to Bally Sports. A bankruptcy court hearing on that issue is scheduled for Jan. 10. But DSG has also struck revised rights deals with the NBA and NHL in recent weeks in its bid to reorganize the company and create more certainty around its entire programming situation. 

Amazon is also reportedly considering buying into DSG, and Bally Sports having more team relationships in the immediate term would sweeten the pot for the streaming and online giant.

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