By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, what’s the latest with the Diamond Sports-MLB showdown? Will we get some clarity this week on the whole messy situation? It seems like this never has any real developments. Same thing all the time. — Tom, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Tom, this could be the week that determines whether Diamond Sports will continue broadcasting the games of all 14 MLB teams it carries on the Bally Sports regional sports networks. It also could be the week that determines whether those 14 MLB teams experience a significant reduction in revenue.

Would that be real enough for you?

Let me explain:

Sports Business Journal reports that Diamond’s final deadline for paying the San Diego Padres is today (May 30) and the company has been mulling whether to simply let the broadcast rights expire rather than pay. If Diamond failed to make the payment, the rights would return to the club and MLB which would broadcast the games themselves on some combination of MLB.TV and the MLB Network using freelance personnel.

Diamond is evaluating which team contracts are profitable and the company could decide to reject the ones it determines are not. The RSN firm has been trying to secure the in-market streaming rights to the 14 MLB teams, which would help offset losses incurred from the operation of the cable/satellite broadcasts. But thus far, it has only obtained the rights to five clubs: the Brewers, Marlins, Rays, Royals and Tigers. (Diamond wants to offer all 14 MLB teams on its Bally Sports Plus app targeted to cord-cutters.)

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If the Padres payment is not made today, it could signal that Diamond will jettison other unprofitable teams as well, forcing MLB to broadcast even more games.

If that’s not enough drama for you, a Texas bankruptcy court judge has set a hearing tomorrow (May 31) to rule on Diamond’s motion to reduce its payments to the teams. (Diamond has the broadcast rights to 14 MLB teams, 16 NBA teams and 12 NHL teams.) MLB has led the opposition to this motion, arguing that Diamond should honor their contracts. But if the judge agrees with the RSN company, it could lead to a sudden reduction in team revenue for possibly every Bally Sports team. The implications of that are uncertain but it’s not hard to envision a scenario where teams become less aggressive in pursuing free agents.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred is certainly aware of the possible consequences of MLB losing its argument in bankruptcy court. Law360 reports that the league chief plans to testify live at the hearing.

So, Tom, if you’ve been waiting for some clarity on this issue, this should be your week.

Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann