By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, did the Diamond Sports/Bally Sports company pay the Cleveland Guardians? Wasn’t the payment due today? Is there an update? — Carl, Cleveland.
Carl, Diamond Sports, the owner and operator of the Bally Sports regional sports networks, had a payment due today to the Cleveland Guardians for the continued right to broadcast the team’s games. In theory, if Diamond Sports did not make the payment, Major League Baseball would take over the team’s broadcasts and sell them on MLB.TV and via a new pay TV channel, as it did for the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks when Diamond ended its agreements with those teams. This possibility is likely why I’ve received several e-mails and social media messages inquiring whether Diamond made the payment. Some Cleveland fans apparently are anxious for MLB to become the team’s official broadcaster so they can watch the Guardians on MLB.TV in-market without blackouts.

However, there’s no indication that Diamond Sports did not (or will not) make the Guardians payment. In fact, the company said last month that it planned to make all future payments to MLB teams during the 2023 season. “We are continuing to broadcast games for all other teams under contract without disruption and we anticipate making all rights payments to the remainder of the MLB teams in our portfolio through the end of this season,” the company said.

In addition, the RSN firm has not filed a motion in bankruptcy court to reject the Guardians deal, which it would need to do if it was planning to do so. From this, we have to assume that the payment was made, as Diamond Sports said it would be. (The team and company have not issued statements on the payment.) The TV Answer Man will report back here if there’s even a hint that the Diamond/Guardians situation has changed. But for now, it appears that Bally Sports will broadcast the Guardians games for the remainder of the 2023 season.

Update: Crain’s Cleveland Business reports this afternoon that Diamond Sports has made the August 1 payment and intends to make the season’s final payment as well.

Carl, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann