It appears as if Major League Baseball and Diamond Sports Group will keep the peace through next season.
On Friday, lawyers for MLB said that they are working with the bankrupted sports media company to iron out a framework agreement that keeps the remaining commitments on for the 2024 season. Eleven MLB teams will still have their games broadcasted through the Bally Sports regional networks.
Via a highly detailed report from Anthony Crupi and Michael McCann at Sportico, this all stemmed from a recent legal action taken by the league and five of the 12 contracted teams – the World Series champion Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Guardians, Detroit Tigers and Milwaukee Brewers. They petitioned Judge Christopher Lopez in the Houston-based federal bankruptcy court to compel Diamond to accept the remaining MLB deals before the start of the season. In a mediation session on Thursday, both sides were able to put a deal together, which in turn lead to MLB dropping its motion against DSG.
This agreement may provide a temporary sigh of relief for teams like the Cincinnati Reds, with whom Diamond was rumored to sever ties with back in November.
Prior to the start of the NBA season, Diamond made a similar agreement with the league to retain rights to broadcast games for teams still under contract with the company. At the time, it had also anticipated making one with the NHL, plans that came as Judge Lopez allowed DSG to drop the Arizona Coyotes from Bally Sports Arizona, effectively shuttering that network after the departures of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury.
The Sportico authors also note that this was not the only positive development for DSG, as Lopez sided with them over parent company Sinclair Broadcasting in the payment of additional management fees for business operations. This allows DSG to retain some funding in its attempt to present a plan for how it will reorganize itself to stay in business beyond 2024.
Of course, much can change between now and spring training in March as the one-year anniversary of DSG’s formal Chapter 11 declaration approaches. Shortly after that began the unspooling of some local rights agreements with the Arizona-based sports teams as well as the San Diego Padres, whose broadcasts were taken over by MLB after Diamond didn’t make its monthly payments to the team.