MLB Issues Statement Responding to Bankruptcy of Regional TV Broadcasters

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMarch 15, 2023

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 21: A closeup view of the Major League Baseball logo as rain falls prior to a game between the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Guardians at Progressive Field on August 21, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. The game was postponed due to unsafe field conditions. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Major League Baseball issued a statement Tuesday night assuring its fans it will make sure its games are broadcasted during the 2023 season despite Diamond Sports Group declaring for bankruptcy.

Travis Sawchik of the Score shared the statement:

Travis Sawchik @Travis_Sawchik

MLB statement re: Diamond's Chapter 11 filing <a href="https://t.co/uDlenEBvy4">pic.twitter.com/uDlenEBvy4</a>

"Despite Diamond's economic situation, there is every expectation that they will continue televising all games they are committed to during the bankruptcy process," the statement said in part.

"Major League Baseball is ready to produce and distribute games in their local markets in the event that Diamond or any other regional sports network is unable to do so as required by their agreement with our clubs."

Alden Gonzalez of ESPN noted Diamond Sports Group is a Sinclair subsidiary that owns regional sports networks that broadcast 14 MLB teams. If it does not continue to pay those teams their owed rights fees, the clubs can break their contracts.

Diamond Sports Group controls the regional sports networks for 42 sports teams in total, some of which play in the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association.

Here are the 14 teams it has an agreement with in MLB:

  • Arizona Diamondbacks
  • Detroit Tigers 
  • Miami Marlins 
  • Cleveland Guardians 
  • Kansas City Royals 
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • Minnesota Twins 
  • Cincinnati Reds 
  • San Diego Padres 
  • Los Angeles Angels 
  • Atlanta Braves 
  • Texas Rangers 
  • Tampa Bay Rays 
  • Milwaukee Brewers

Gonzalez explained Diamond is facing more than $8 billion in debt but plans on operating during the bankruptcy process in part with $425 million in cash it possesses.

Gonzalez also cited a source who said MLB would eventually prefer to control broadcast rights for every team under one umbrella, which could help it address blackouts and make it less reliant on other companies that may have financial issues.