By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, do you know what happened in the hearing with Major League Baseball and Manfred and the Diamond Sports company? Was there a verdict? — Bill, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Bill, a bankruptcy court judge yesterday held a hearing on Diamond Sports’ motion to reduce the payments it makes to four MLB teams (Twins, Guardians, Rangers, Diamondbacks) for the rights to carry their games. The company, which owns 18 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. If it wins the motion, Diamond could use the ruling to seek reduced payments to other teams whose games it carries. (The Bally Sports channels have 13 MLB teams, 16 NBA teams and 12 NHL teams.)

Bill, your last question is easy: No verdict yet. But to your second question, that doesn’t mean nothing of interest happened.

Here are the highlights of the hearing’s testimony, as reported by several publications, including The Washington Post, The Athletic and Sportico:

* Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred testified that Diamond Sports gave the league less than 24 hours notice that it would not make its ‘grace period’ payment to the San Diego Padres. Diamond on Tuesday gave up its rights to the Padres broadcasts when it didn’t make the payment. The league last night began broadcasting the San Diego team’s broadcasts itself. — Ben Strauss of The Washington Post.

* Manfred said that if a team does not receive the same revenue from a MLB-run channel, such as is likely in the Padres case, the league will make up at least 80 percent of that deficit. The commissioner said this would allow teams to spend the same amount of money on free agents. — The Athletic’s Evan Drellich.

(Editor’s note: Manfred’s plan could encounter issues if Diamond drops more teams, which is possible. In addition, Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns RSNs for three MLB teams, is negotiating to return their rights back to them.)

* Diamond CEO David Preschlack testified that the league recently offered Diamond approximately $400 million to drop the business and return all team rights to MLB. — The Washington Post.

* The Diamond chief also said the company’s Bally Sports Plus app targeting cord cutters had just 202,000 subscribers. But he added that he expected the number to rise to 10 million in five years. (Diamond’s Bally Sports Plus has the in-market streaming rights to its NBA and NHL teams but has only secured them for five MLB teams. This has been a major source of contention between MLB and Diamond. Manfred said in court that Sinclair, the former owner of Diamond Sports, threatened to declare bankruptcy if more teams did not surrender their in-market streaming rights.) — The Washington Post.

* Manfred said the league had bid on the Diamond Sports RSNs in 2019 when they were for sale. But the league’s $9.6 billion offer was topped by Sinclair which purchased them from Fox. — Sportico’s Anthony Crupi.

The Athletic’s Daniel Kaplan reports that the hearing could continue for two more days and the Washington Post writes that a verdict could come soon after that. The TV Answer Man will monitor this development and report back here if anything significant changes.

Until then, happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann