Jonah Heim Texas Rangers Mar 31, 2024; Arlington, Texas, USA; Texas Rangers catcher Jonah Heim (28) celebrates after he hits a walk off single against the Chicago Cubs during the tenth inning at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Over the last year, the Texas Rangers have been one of several teams embroiled in a dispute with the Diamond Sports Group, owner and operator of the Bally Sports regional sports networks (RSNs).

The Rangers avoided the fate of the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres and will continue having their games aired on Bally Sports Southwest for the 2024 season, albeit with a cut to their rights fee.

In an interview ahead of the 2024 season with the Dallas Morning News, Rangers owner Ray Davis spoke about the team’s RSN squabbles and future broadcasting plans, admitting that building a new RSN for the team is a possibility.

Q: Since you mentioned the RSN situation, let’s go there for a moment. You seemed to see the collapse of this coming and planned well for it. How concerned are you about the future of broadcast revenues? Could it change the industry?

Davis: “It could. I don’t have a crystal ball. But I think all teams, and I’m including everybody, is going to see a dip like we saw this year. We could see more [revenue], too. I just don’t know. But I think there is going to be some kind of trough [in revenues]. How deep or long is it? I still don’t know.

“The public wants baseball. The broadcasters still want content. Who that’s going to be and how much they are going to pay for it, I just don’t know yet.”

Q: Could you consider building your own RSN?

Davis: “It’s an option. It’s one of about four we have.”

Q: Want to share the others?

Davis: “No, I don’t.”

Q: Are you optimistic about the future of TV/broadcast revenues long-term?

Davis: “I am optimistic. As I said before, there is still demand. I think it could get back to where our original contract was, or more. Eventually. I just don’t know how long that’s going to take.”

Building a new RSN from scratch would be a bold decision, given the still-declining totals of cable and satellite subscribers across the country.

Then again, three sports teams in the greater Dallas market all seem to have issues with Bally Sports Southwest and are considering different plans. The Dallas Stars are reportedly exploring launching a free, ad-supported app to air their games. The Dallas Mavericks didn’t give much of an answer either way, saying they would “look at all of our options” when the team’s current media rights deal expired.

Last March, the Rangers notified Diamond that they would terminate their media rights deal with the company in the event of its insolvency. In April, the Rangers joined an MLB motion against Diamond, claiming its first rights payment of the season was missed. After various twists and turns, the Rangers were eventually paid in full through the 2023 season, with the final payment coming in August.

In February, Diamond and the Rangers agreed to a rights deal for the 2024 season, with the team’s rights hitting the open market after the season. The rights fee for 2024 is unknown, but the team said a report claiming they would make $100 million was “not accurate” and the actual amount was less. The Rangers were in the midst of a 20-year, $3 billion contract originally signed in 2010.

[Dallas Morning News]

About Joe Lucia

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