By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
Diamond Sports yesterday relinquished its rights to broadcast San Diego Padres games by failing to make its ‘grace period’ payment to the team. The decision means the rights revert back to Major League Baseball and the team, effective today.
What does this mean for future Padres broadcasts? Are blackouts over? Will this also happen to other teams? The TV Answer Man has the answers to your top questions:
Why is Diamond refusing to pay the Padres and continue broadcasting their games?
The company, which owns 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks, declared bankruptcy in March due to declining revenues caused by a drop in carriage fees from cable and satellite operators. Diamond is reviewing which channels are profitable under its new financial restrictions and decided yesterday that the Padres are not a good fit.
Does this mean the Padres games won’t be on cable and satellite anymore?
Major League Baseball will begin broadcasting the Padres games starting with tonight’s 6:40 p.m. ET matchup against the Miami Marlins. Fans in the San Diego market will be able to watch the game on the following TV providers: DIRECTV (channel 694-3), DIRECTV Stream, Cox (channel 4), AT&T U-verse (channel 781), Spectrum (channel 305), and Fubo.
What if you don’t have a pay TV subscription? Can cord-cutters in San Diego watch the games?
Yes. MLB.TV now offers a special $19.99 a month (or $74.99 for the entire season) single-team plan for the Padres games. The package also includes access to ‘eligible’ out-of-market non-Padres games as well as select minor league games.
Doesn’t MLB TV blackout games in the home market?
The Padres games on MLB TV will not be blacked out in the San Diego market as part of this plan.
Can fans in other markets watch their home teams without a blackout on MLB TV?
No, this is just for the Padres.
Is there a free trial for the Padres single-team plan?
Yes. There’s a seven-day free trial.
What if you already have a MLB TV subscription and you live in San Diego. Can you now watch the Padres games on MLB TV without blackouts?
No. Only MLB TV subscribers who have specifically purchased the new single team Padres plan can stream the Padres games in the San Diego market. You have to purchase the Padres plan in addition to your current all teams plan to watch the Padres in the home market.
Will the Padres’ regular announcers do the games now?
Yes, the Padres’ primary TV broadcasters – Don Orsillo, Mark Grant, and Bob Scanlan – will continue to broadcast the games.
Will MLB take over the broadcasts of other teams?
It’s possible. Diamond Sports today will participate in a bankruptcy court hearing on its motion to reduce payments to teams. If the company loses its motion, it may decide to stop paying more teams. Diamond may also forgo more rights simply to ensure the company is profitable. MLB says it’s ready to begin TV production on any team if necessary.
What teams does Diamond carry on the Bally Sports channels?
Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Guardians, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, and the Los Angeles Angels. Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Does the Padres decision affect Bally Sports Plus?
Not as of now. Diamond’s app for cord-cutters did not include the Padres games. The company only has the in-market streaming rights to five teams: Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays.
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— Phillip Swann