By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, is Thursday (April 13) the day when Bally Sports is supposed to pay up or Major League Baseball will take over the TV broadcasts? What will happen? — Jimmy, Anaheim, California.
Jimmy, Major League Baseball last week filed an emergency motion in the Diamond Sports bankruptcy court asking that the owner of 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks be ordered to make its regular payments to the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Guardians by today, April 13. Otherwise, MLB said the court should force Diamond to relinquish its broadcast rights to the Twins and Guardians so the teams could take over the broadcasts. (Diamond declared bankruptcy last month due to the declining revenues of the Bally Sports RSNs.)
Today then would seem to be the proverbial line in the sand. However, Diamond yesterday took action designed to cut MLB off at the pass.
Diamond filed a motion in the bankruptcy court requesting to reduce the fees it pays to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Guardians and Twins, according to a new article from Daniel Kaplan in The Athletic.
The article adds that MLB and the teams are objecting to Diamond’s request for reduced payments, saying it has no right to do so.
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I’m not a bankruptcy attorney, or an attorney of any kind, but it seems evident that the bankruptcy court must first rule whether Diamond can seek reduced payments before it could decide whether MLB can take back the broadcast rights for Diamond not making any payments. The judge has to determine what Diamond’s payments should be before deciding whether it is in default and grant the MLB’s request.
It’s not clear when these decisions will come, but for now, MLB’s bid to make Diamond pay up or shut up would seem to be stalled.
The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor this situation and report back here if anything significant changes.
Meanwhile, Diamond’s Bally Sports channels continue to broadcast the MLB games of all 14 teams it carries.
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— Phillip Swann