By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, is there anything new on whether the Cincinnati Reds will stay on Bally Sports. It would be great if they were on local TV so everyone could see them for free. Do you see that happening? — Todd, Blue Ash, Ohio. 

Todd, Diamond Sports, which declared bankruptcy in March, last month notified the bankruptcy court that it was considering ending its broadcast agreements with an unspecified number of 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.

Since last month’s court notification, Diamond Sports has made its regular payments to the Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Guardians and Texas Rangers. The company did file a motion to drop its contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. But a week later, it filed a new motion to postpone a June 30 hearing on that request until July 17. The company issued a statement that said it’s in “positive” discussions with the Diamondbacks to find a “solution.”

Under bankruptcy law, Diamond Sports could have requested the court to reject any or all of those contracts. But to the surprise of some analysts, it’s clear the company is planning to emerge from bankruptcy not only as a profitable company but one with as many team contracts as possible.

Will Bally Sports Continue to Show the Cincinnati Reds?

And that brings us to the Cincinnati Reds.

Diamond Sports’ next payment to the Reds is scheduled for Saturday, July 15.

Last April, the Reds would have been a strong candidate for an agreement termination. But the team has become the surprise of baseball thanks in part to the exciting rookie infielder Elly de la Cruz. Cincinnati is in first place by one game over the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central and it would seem to be a slam dunk, to mix sporting metaphors, for Diamond Sports to keep the team’s deal intact.

The Reds situation is also different from the four other teams because Cincinnati has a minority equity stake in the Bally Sports Ohio channel that airs the games. It’s unclear how that will influence Diamond Sports’ decision.

Todd, I don’t see the Reds breaking away from Diamond Sports this season and offering the games for free on local TV. Even if Diamond Sports rejects the agreement, which is not likely, MLB would do the broadcasts this year as it did for the Padres. And the more likely scenario is that Bally Sports will continue to do the Reds games indefinitely.

As always, 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