Diamond Sports Group, the parent company of the Bally Sports networks, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The ongoing bankruptcy process of the Diamond Sports Group took a somewhat positive step last week, at least when it comes to the company’s relationship with Major League Baseball.

Per the Sports Business Journal, an agreement between the two sides (which, importantly, has not been signed yet) would guarantee that Diamond pays all but three teams in full under its umbrella in 2024. The included teams are the Braves, Reds, Tigers, Royals, Angels, Marlins, Brewers, Cardinals, and Rays. Of those teams, the Tigers, Royals, Marlins, Brewers, and Rays have signed over digital rights to Diamond in previous renewals, making their games available on Bally Sports+.

Three teams are not included in the agreement. Those are the Minnesota Twins (whose deal with Diamond and Bally Sports North expired at the end of the 2023 season), Cleveland Guardians, and the reigning World Champion Texas Rangers. SBJ’s report notes that Diamond has committed to making offers for those three teams’ rights by the end of this week, likely at a lower rate. If the offers are not accepted, those teams’ rights will revert to MLB, as we saw last year with the Padres and Diamondbacks. Given they currently don’t have a deal with Diamond, it’s unclear how that will work with the Twins.

In order to incentivize Diamond to keep up its end of the bargain, MLB is reportedly seeking to acquire Diamond’s 20 percent stake in YES Network if it fails to pay any of those teams in full this season.

An interesting part of the deal, per sources, is that MLB is pushing to add a provision that if Diamond Sports defaults on any of these rights deals this season, MLB will gain control of Diamond’s stake in YES Network. Diamond, which owns 20% of YES Network, is unlikely to agree to such a provision.

It’s also unclear how this potential agreement would tie into reports this week that Amazon is looking to invest in Diamond. The deal would reportedly make Prime Video the streaming home of teams airing on Diamond-owned RSNs.

Given all of the struggles Diamond has had throughout its bankruptcy in 2023, there have been some positive signs lately. This MLB deal would be huge for both the company and the league, similar to the deal Diamond struck with the NBA in November. Going into a season with far less confusion and uncertainty about where to watch a team and whether or not they’d need a new broadcast home in the middle of the season would be huge for MLB, especially considering how this seemed to be a monthly occurrence for several teams in 2023.

[Sports Business Journal]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.