The Arizona Diamondbacks’ media rights arrangement is changing, much as we saw with the San Diego Padres earlier this year.
Beginning on Tuesday, Diamondbacks games will be available in the team’s home viewing territory on MLB.TV and through a variety of local channels on various providers. MLB will produce and distribute the games, with Diamondbacks broadcasters Steve Berthiaume and Bob Brenly on the call.
Here’s the full listing of local channels, which includes availability on Cox, DirecTV, Spectrum, and Xfinity.
The release from MLB notes that the Diamondbacks’ potential audience increases by 506%, which tells you how poor the carriage of Bally Sports Arizona was.
The new arrangement, which gives fans the option to watch on television or stream digitally, expands the availability of Diamondbacks games from approximately 930 thousand homes to approximately 5.6 million homes in the Diamondbacks Home Television Territory. The increase of 4.7 million homes marks a +506% jump in reach.
As they did with the Padres, MLB is making the next week of Diamondbacks games available free in-market on MLB.com. This includes series in Atlanta with the Braves and in Cincinnati with the Reds. On Monday, July 24th, in-market Diamondbacks fans can pay $19.99 per month or $54.99 for the rest of the season to stream the team’s games.
MLB’s Noah Garden said the league was “disappointed that Diamond Sports Group failed to live up to their contractual agreement” with the team.
“As Major League Baseball has proven with the Padres, we’re ready to produce and distribute games to fans, including Diamondbacks games starting today,” said Noah Garden, MLB Chief Revenue Officer. “While we’re disappointed that Diamond Sports Group failed to live up to their contractual agreement with another Club, we are taking this opportunity to reimagine the distribution model, remove blackouts on local games, improve the telecast, and expand the reach of Diamondbacks games by 4.7 million homes.”
On Monday night, the Sports Business Journal reported that MLB was likely to take over the Diamondbacks’ rights after a deal couldn’t be reached between the team and Diamond Sports.
Last month, reports indicated that Diamond wanted to end its rights deal with the Diamondbacks. The two parties then mutually agreed to postpone a hearing about the team’s future until July 17th. Diamond and the Diamondbacks were reportedly close to a reworked five-year deal last week, but today’s announcement seems to indicate that an agreement couldn’t get over the line.
With the Diamondbacks following the Suns out of the Bally Sports Arizona family, the RSN is left with the media rights for just one big-four team, the Arizona Coyotes. How much effort will Diamond put into the network with two of its previous stalwarts airing on different networks for the foreseeable future? That question will be answered in the coming months as Diamond’s bankruptcy process rolls along.