By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
Diamond Sports yesterday relinquished its rights to broadcast Arizona Diamondbacks games when a Texas bankruptcy court approved its motion to reject the company’s agreement with the team. (Diamond Sports declared bankruptcy last March and is seeking to reorganize as a profitable company.) The decision means the Diamondbacks TV rights revert back to Major League Baseball which began producing the games last night.
What does this mean for future Diamondbacks broadcasts? Are blackouts over? Are the games free? Will this also happen to other teams? The TV Answer Man has the answers to your top questions:
Why did Diamond Sports reject the Diamondbacks agreement?
The company, which owns the Bally Sports regional sports networks, declared bankruptcy due to declining revenues caused by a drop in carriage fees from cable and satellite operators. Diamond has been reviewing which Bally Sports channels, and other company properties, are profitable under its new financial restrictions and eventually decided that the Diamondbacks are not a good fit. The company made the same decision on May 30 with the San Diego Padres agreement, allowing MLB to do the games.
Does this mean the Diamondbacks games won’t be on cable and satellite anymore?
Major League Baseball last night began broadcasting the Diamondbacks games on a new channel available on multiple pay TV services including DIRECTV, DIRECTV Stream, Cox, Fubo, Mediacom, Comcast, Charter’s Spectrum TV, and Optimum/Suddenlink, among others.
What if you don’t have a pay TV subscription? Can cord-cutters in the Arizona market watch the games?
Yes. MLB.TV is selling single team plans for the Diamondbacks for $54.99 for the rest of the season. Monthly plans are $19.99. The Diamondbacks single-team plans are only available in the team’s market.
Doesn’t MLB TV blackout games in the home market?
The Diamondbacks games on MLB TV will not be blacked out in the team’s 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 Diamondbacks, and the Padres with its single-team plan.
Is there a free trial for the Diamondbacks single-team plan?
Yes. There’s a seven-day free trial.
What if you already have a MLB TV subscription and you live in Phoenix. Can you now watch the Diamondbacks games on MLB TV without blackouts?
No. Only MLB TV subscribers who have specifically purchased the new single team Diamondbacks plan can stream the team’s games in that market. You have to purchase the Diamondbacks plan in addition to your current all teams plan to watch the team in the home market.
Are any Diamondbacks games available for free?
MLB will make the team’s broadcasts free on Dbacks.com and MLB.com through Sunday, July 23. There is also the free seven-day trial at MLB.TV.
Will the Diamondbacks’ regular announcers do the games now?
Yes, the Diamondbacks regular announcers — Steve Berthiaume and analyst Bob Brenly — will do the games.
Will MLB take over the broadcasts of other teams?
It’s possible, but Diamond Sports says it plans to maintain its agreements with the 12 other MLB teams it carries on Bally Sports at least through the 2023 season. See this article for more details.
What teams does Diamond carry on the Bally Sports channels?
After yesterday’s exit from the Diamondbacks, Bally Sports carries the following teams: Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Guardians, Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels. Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays.
Does the Diamondbacks decision affect Bally Sports Plus?
Not as of now. Diamond’s app for cord-cutters did not include the Diamondbacks 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.
Will the Diamondbacks find a new TV partner for the 2024 season?
Possible, and maybe even likely. The team could follow the lead of the Phoenix Suns which recently signed a local channel deal with Gray Television to provide its games for free over the air.
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann