By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, I am a big Texas Rangers fan. Do you think that the Diamond Sports company will drop the Rangers broadcasts this week? — Davey, Plano, Texas.
Davey, Diamond Sports, which declared bankruptcy in March, notified the bankruptcy court last week that it is considering ending its TV rights deals with more teams. The company, which owns 18 Bally Sports regional sports networks, dropped the rights to the San Diego Padres games on May 30 when it decided to stop paying the team. Major League Baseball took over the broadcasts, starting with the team’s May 31 game against the Miami Marlins.
Diamond Sports currently owes back rights fees to four teams: Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Guardians, Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks. But the Rangers payment is interesting because court documents show that the deadline is Thursday, June 15. (It’s unclear when the other teams must be paid but it could be late this week or early next.)
There is no grace period for the Rangers payment, either, meaning that Diamond Sports has to decide whether it wants to continue the team’s broadcasts. If it decides against, Major League Baseball would step in and do the games.
The RSN company has provided no guidance as to how it’s thinking. But it could make the payment and reassess when the next payment is due, sometime in the summer. Or Diamond Sports could cut ties now as part of the company’s effort to reorganize as a profitable company.
The decision could tell us much about Diamond’s future plans. The agreement with the Rangers, who play in the large and economically well-off Dallas market, is likely to be more profitable than the ones with the Twins, Diamondbacks and Guardians. If Diamond rejects the Rangers, it will likely do the same with the other three teams.
The TV Answer Man will monitor this situation and report back here if anything significant changes. Until then, happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann