HomeTrending MLB NewsMLB could pick up Rockies media rights before 2024 season

MLB could pick up Rockies media rights before 2024 season

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A massive change in Colorado television may lead to Major League Baseball picking up more local rights.

Patrick Saunders, the Denver Post’s beat reporter for the Colorado Rockies, addressed the team’s broadcast future in his most recent mailbag. The veteran writer said that the MLB is reportedly considering picking up the team’s local media rights after the shuttering of AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, noting that it would be the same arrangement that the league has with the NL champion Arizona Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres. 

Those NL West rivals had their contracts with their respective Bally Sports channels (Arizona and San Diego) nullified during the 2023 season after Diamond Sports Group did not pay the expected broadcasting fees to those teams. 

DSG filed for bankruptcy last March and while it recently came to a new agreement with its contracted MLB teams, it previously singled out arrangements made with the Diamondbacks and Padres as cost-prohibitive deals.

Perhaps the biggest impact of the broadcasting change may show up in the team’s payroll. Saunders wrote:

“It remains to be seen how a new TV deal with MLB will affect the Rockies’ payroll but it looks like the club will receive less money. Last year, the league guaranteed that any team with games broadcast by MLB would receive 80% of their original contract. I don’t know what the percentage would be for the Rockies in 2024.”

According to Sportrac’s real-time payroll tracker as of January 5, the Rockies’ current obligations stand at a shade above $131 million, which is 15th in all of baseball (for those curious, it’s about $94 million less than the league-leading New York Mets yet more than four times of the league-low Oakland A’s).

Prior to the start of the 2023 season, some alarms had gone off about the potential of several teams being unable to fully meet payroll or at least not spend as much in free agency due to Diamond Sports Group’s problems. 

If Colorado is not going to get its full intended contract, then it’s very possible that the team will act as sellers on the trade market unless it makes a surprising and sustainable run for the division crown.

The Rockies’ situation compared to their NL West rivals differs in that Warner Bros. Discovery, the former owner of Rocky Mountain, had announced that it would close up shop on the channel long in advance of the 2024 season. 

It’s conceivable that the team could make a deal with Altitude Sports, the regional network that’s home to the NBA champion Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, or follow the recent trend of some pro teams by moving games to over-the-air television with some local broadcast affiliates.

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