Bankruptcy is seemingly very probable for Bally Sports and ahead of the 2023 MLB season leaving MLB to question broadcasting options.
Bally Sports is in deep water this week as they have defaulted on their $142 million payment, and they are set for bankruptcy. The media conglomerate is responsible for the broadcasting of 42 professional teams in the US. Bally sports owned by Diamond Sports Group which has not paid their monthly payment.
Diamond Sports Group will have a thirty-day grace period to get their funds in order and pay those they owe. This is looking like a precursor to a bankruptcy filing, which will then lead to a major change in how games are televised. Diamond has said that during this grace period they will be talking with creditors and investors to look for an alternative solution.
How MLB has Responded
With the MLB season coming up it is very interesting to see what teams will do if the Diamond Sports group ends up filing for bankruptcy. Rob Manfred has come out about the issue and said that if the worst-case scenario happens MLB is ready to put a plan into action themselves.
How Could the Bankruptcy Help the League
During his annual Grapefruit League press conference uncle Rob said that he hopes to get to a point where MLB.tv is selling everything on their site, from out of market games to single game packages. MLB has always had problems with blackout restrictions due to odd alignments of local feeds. States such as Iowa get very few games available due to blackout restrictions.
“We know that we can produce games in the event that Bally is not broadcasting. We know that we can put those games up in conjunction with MLB.tv digitally.” Manfred said, “We are in the process of trying to work out arrangements that will put us in a position to make those games available within the cable bundle as well.”
Solutions are in the Works
It seems to me as if MLB is looking to capitalize on the forfeiture of the contract by fixing the blackout problems. This is a huge move in all of sports streaming. The NBA and NHL both have problems with the blackout, but it is well known MLB has a bigger issue with boundaries.
At the time of writing, it is still unclear what is going to happen with Diamond Sports Group but it does seem that MLB is ready and waiting to deal with whatever comes its way. Regardless of what happens, 2023 will still be an exciting year for baseball.
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