By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, what’s up with Bally Sports and the Cincy Reds? Will the team get the TV rights and start doing the games themselves? Haven’t heard from you on this lately? — Tom, Dayton, Ohio.

Tom, since receiving your e-mail this morning, ESPN has reported that Diamond Sports, the owner and operator of the 19 Bally Sports RSNs, has made its scheduled payment to the Cincinnati Reds. The sports network says sources tell it that the payment was made yesterday which means Diamond will keep the team’s regional TV rights and continue broadcasting its games.

The situation was in doubt a few weeks ago when it was unclear if Diamond, which has declared bankruptcy, would pay its regular rights fee to the Reds, Sports Business Journal reported that since the Reds are a partial owner of the Bally Sports Ohio channel which does the team’s games, the Reds could have had legal standing to take back the broadcast rights.

However, that’s apparently now a moot point with ESPN reporting the payment was made. The network says the payment was made in the ‘grace period’ after the initial deadline was missed.

Diamond has missed payments to MLB’s Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Guardians and Arizona Diamondbacks. MLB has filed its own motion in the bankruptcy court to take back the broadcast rights due to the missed payments. But the judge has set a May 31 hearing to first rule on the Diamond request for lower team payments.

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The company is trying to restructure its debt and it has filed a motion seeking to reduce its payments to the teams whose regional TV rights it holds. (Bally broadcasts the games of 14 MLB teams, 12 NHL teams and 16 NBA teams.)

Meanwhile, the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury have announced that they are leaving Diamond to broadcast their games on local stations in Arizona owned by Gray Television. Diamond has suggested it will take legal action to block that move.

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— Phillip Swann