By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, there’s something I don’t understand about Bally Sports and the bankruptcy. Why don’t they just add more MLB teams to the Bally Sports Plus app? It seems to me that would get more subscriptions and more revenue, right? Can you explain this? Are they just not thinking?? — Jan, Buford, Georgia.
Jan, as you know, Diamond Sports, the owner and operator of 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks, declared bankruptcy last month due to shrinking revenues caused by reduced carriage fees from cable and satellite operators. The company wants to restructure its contracts with the teams so it would pay less for the broadcast rights and therefore be profitable. The issue could be resolved at a May 31 hearing in a Texas bankruptcy court with MLB and Diamond attorneys making their respective cases.
Diamond’s Bally Sports Plus app, which costs $189 a year or $19.99 a month, was created to boost the company’s revenue. Unlike the Bally Sports channels, the Bally Sports app does not require a cable or satellite subscription. You can subscribe directly as a standalone service. In theory, this could attract a larger segment of cord-cutters.
However, the app only includes the in-market games of five MLB teams: the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays.
The nine teams that Diamond does not carry on the app: Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Guardians, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Los Angeles Angels.
Diamond wants to include them on Bally Sports Plus but it has been unable to secure streaming deals with the nine teams.
Why won’t the teams play ball, so to speak?
The bankruptcy has obviously made the nine teams a bit nervous about Diamond’s future. The company has already missed payments to five teams now carried on the regular Bally Sports channels so those nine teams are concerned that Diamond won’t make the streaming payments down the road as well.
This could change after the May 31 hearing if Diamond and MLB find common ground going forward. But for now, the Bally Sports Plus doesn’t carry more teams because it can’t.
Jan, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann