Sinclair(Bally's Sport) nearing a deal for NBA streaming rights for direct to consumer offering

Ope3

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Strib from Michael Rand:

Maybe Twins fans haven't heard the last of Bally Sports after all

All indications were that Diamond Sports was headed for a liquidation. Instead, a restructured deal announced Wednesday could delay a decision on the Twins' TV plans in 2024.

 

MplsGopher

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If they continue to be on a broadcast partner that doesn't actually broadcast to popular service providers, I will continue to not give a s__t about the team.
 

stocker08

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I won't be watching many Twins games if they are going to be exclusively through a new subscription service. One step closer to getting rid of cable.
 

short ornery norwegian

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I am not an Athletic subscriber, but based on tweets, MLB is royally P.O'ed at Diamond. MLB and Diamond were in mediation over a plan that would have had all digital rights (streaming) revert to MLB after the 2024 season. MLB reportedly wanted to put together a deal where MLB would go to Amazon or Apple with a plan featuring streaming rights to as many as 15 MLB teams - similar to the MLS deal with Apple but only covering about half the teams in MLB.

Now, IF the judge approves this new Amazon-Diamond deal, Amazon would have streaming rights to 5 MLB teams through Diamond - not through MLB.

so Diamond was going through mediation with MLB, and then announces the Amazon deal without giving MLB any heads-up - and in the process potentially messing up MLB's plan for the future.

I don't think MLB is going to take this very well.

and the Twins are left in limbo.
 

short ornery norwegian

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I've been looking for updates on the Diamond bankruptcy case. some developments this week.

this gets pretty complicated, so I will shorten and paraphrase.

basically, some of the people who are owed money by Diamond (known as the unsecured creditors) are objecting to the proposed Diamond-Amazon deal. the unsecured creditors claim they could get left holding the bag if Diamond is allowed to move forward with what is know as a "debtor in possession" or DIP financing plan.

the unsecured creditors were calling for an emergency hearing in front of the bankruptcy court Judge this week. Diamond responded by claiming the unsecured creditors are (quoting) "trying to throw a monkey wrench" into the reorganization plan. Diamond said these matters should be discussed at the next regular court hearing scheduled for February 26th.

the unsecured creditors include a mix of banks, sports teams, broadcasters and service providers. the group includes the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Dolan family that runs Madison Square Garden Sports.

(note - if nothing is settled before Feb 26, that would mean the baseball teams that have contracts with Diamond/Bally would still be in limbo while Spring Training is underway......)
 


short ornery norwegian

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So - Evan Drellich of 'The Athletic' apparently has a new article out on the whole Diamond/Amazon situation. I am not an Athletic subscriber, so I can't read the article.

But here are some tweets from Drellich:
-- Source says Cleveland, Texas, Minnesota are expected to remain on Bally for 2024.
-- a lot of skepticism on Diamond's growth projections
--It's unclear just how much the Guardians and Rangers will have their 2024 rights fees reduced, but a person briefed on the league's thinking said it would 15% or less.
--those three teams are going to be on one-year deals with Bally. The Amazon plan won't be confirmed until summer- assuming it is confirmed. so the 2025 and beyond landscape isn't clear for those three.

Drellich added that if the Amazon plan is approved, he does not know how soon Amazon could begin streaming MLB games - for the teams whose streaming rights are owned by Diamond/Bally.
 

howeda7

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So - Evan Drellich of 'The Athletic' apparently has a new article out on the whole Diamond/Amazon situation. I am not an Athletic subscriber, so I can't read the article.

But here are some tweets from Drellich:
-- Source says Cleveland, Texas, Minnesota are expected to remain on Bally for 2024.
-- a lot of skepticism on Diamond's growth projections
--It's unclear just how much the Guardians and Rangers will have their 2024 rights fees reduced, but a person briefed on the league's thinking said it would 15% or less.
--those three teams are going to be on one-year deals with Bally. The Amazon plan won't be confirmed until summer- assuming it is confirmed. so the 2025 and beyond landscape isn't clear for those three.

Drellich added that if the Amazon plan is approved, he does not know how soon Amazon could begin streaming MLB games - for the teams whose streaming rights are owned by Diamond/Bally.
The full article doesn't have much else. Pretty much they will do a one year deal with Bally for regular TV, they won't grant Bally streaming rights, so they won't be on the Bally App and it's unclear whether they would then be on MLB TV or not for in-market people.

Certainly seems like they've spun their wheels for 4 months to end up...exactly where they started. Just bizarre.
 
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MplsGopher

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BSN can go choke on a fat one.

Another year where I won’t give a S what the Twins do, can’t watch them on TV. Stupids
 

howeda7

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BSN can go choke on a fat one.

Another year where I won’t give a S what the Twins do, can’t watch them on TV. Stupids
Since it is a new contract, you would think they would include the rights for the Twins to sell streaming via MLB to people in market. But none of what they've done up to now has made sense. Also, possibly the Amazon thing is holding that up since it's not approved and won't be before the start of the season most likely.
 



short ornery norwegian

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Since it is a new contract, you would think they would include the rights for the Twins to sell streaming via MLB to people in market. But none of what they've done up to now has made sense. Also, possibly the Amazon thing is holding that up since it's not approved and won't be before the start of the season most likely.
Diamond/Bally has never owned the Twins' streaming rights. as I understand it, the problem is that Diamond/Bally has exclusive rights over certain geographical areas - a concept that was developed before streaming was a thing. So if someone else - like MLB - had the Twins' streaming rights, that's where you run into the whole "blackout" issue.

same reason I can't watch - for example - a Wild game on ESPN+ - because Bally has the rights to show that game, the ESPN+ feed is blacked out in my market area.

it's a mess. I would rather see the Twins' rights go to MLB, but there have to be reasons - I'm guessing financial reasons - why that is not happening.
 

howeda7

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Diamond/Bally has never owned the Twins' streaming rights. as I understand it, the problem is that Diamond/Bally has exclusive rights over certain geographical areas - a concept that was developed before streaming was a thing. So if someone else - like MLB - had the Twins' streaming rights, that's where you run into the whole "blackout" issue.

same reason I can't watch - for example - a Wild game on ESPN+ - because Bally has the rights to show that game, the ESPN+ feed is blacked out in my market area.

it's a mess. I would rather see the Twins' rights go to MLB, but there have to be reasons - I'm guessing financial reasons - why that is not happening.
Bally currently doesn't have exclusive anything now though. They can address the streaming issue in a new contract, even if it's only for one year and just say you get TV rights and that's it. We can sell a streaming package to whoever we want to via MLB. I'm guessing Bally's balking at that though.
 

short ornery norwegian

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Bally currently doesn't have exclusive anything now though. They can address the streaming issue in a new contract, even if it's only for one year and just say you get TV rights and that's it. We can sell a streaming package to whoever we want to via MLB. I'm guessing Bally's balking at that though.

unless I'm dead wrong - and I checked a couple sites to clarify - the in-market exclusivity still holds for RSN's. so BSN does have exclusive rights to the Wolves and Wild. the difference is that BSN also holds the streaming rights to those teams, so you can get their games through the Bally's streaming app.

But with the Twins, BSN does not hold the streaming rights. So - as far as I know - I cannot sign up for Twins games on MLB.TV --

just checked = went to MLB.TV and put in my zip code and this is what came back:

Blackout Restrictions

Check local restrictions by typing in a zip code here:
Live regular season games involving the following Clubs are subject to MLB.TV blackouts in the specified zip code: (my zip code)

  • Minnesota Twins

So if the Twins sign a new deal with Diamond/Bally - the only way that I know of to get the Twins on streaming is for the Twins to make a deal to allow Twins games to be streamed on Bally+ or whatever it's called.
 

howeda7

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unless I'm dead wrong - and I checked a couple sites to clarify - the in-market exclusivity still holds for RSN's. so BSN does have exclusive rights to the Wolves and Wild. the difference is that BSN also holds the streaming rights to those teams, so you can get their games through the Bally's streaming app.

But with the Twins, BSN does not hold the streaming rights. So - as far as I know - I cannot sign up for Twins games on MLB.TV --

just checked = went to MLB.TV and put in my zip code and this is what came back:

Blackout Restrictions

Check local restrictions by typing in a zip code here:
Live regular season games involving the following Clubs are subject to MLB.TV blackouts in the specified zip code: (my zip code)

  • Minnesota Twins

So if the Twins sign a new deal with Diamond/Bally - the only way that I know of to get the Twins on streaming is for the Twins to make a deal to allow Twins games to be streamed on Bally+ or whatever it's called.
Who's blackout restrictions though? It's not a government mandated blackout. So it can be waived/removed in any new contract. I would demand that if I were the Twins.
 



short ornery norwegian

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Who's blackout restrictions though? It's not a government mandated blackout. So it can be waived/removed in any new contract. I would demand that if I were the Twins.

If you want eye-strain, read the whole Wikipedia page on blackouts. or just the section on MLB blackouts.

All I can say is that you saw it in black and white - I cannot watch Twins games on MLB.TV because the games are blacked out in my area - and that is because I am in the market area that is under the control of BSN.

I'm not a lawyer. I can't explain contracts and binding agreements.

MLB wants to get rid of this. I listened to a 30-minute interview with Rob Manfred about this last summer. but he can't just snap his fingers and make it happen.

I believe this is part of what MLB and Diamond/Bally were in mediation about - and then Diamond announced the proposed Amazon deal and MLB's lawyers hit the roof. so good luck getting those two sides to agree on anything.
 

howeda7

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If you want eye-strain, read the whole Wikipedia page on blackouts. or just the section on MLB blackouts.

All I can say is that you saw it in black and white - I cannot watch Twins games on MLB.TV because the games are blacked out in my area - and that is because I am in the market area that is under the control of BSN.

I'm not a lawyer. I can't explain contracts and binding agreements.

MLB wants to get rid of this. I listened to a 30-minute interview with Rob Manfred about this last summer. but he can't just snap his fingers and make it happen.

I believe this is part of what MLB and Diamond/Bally were in mediation about - and then Diamond announced the proposed Amazon deal and MLB's lawyers hit the roof. so good luck getting those two sides to agree on anything.
I'm not disputing what you're reading. I wouldn't expect MLB or Bally's websites to have been updated from last season since there's nothing new in place.

But the blackouts are MLB's/Bally's and were negotiated in the last deal which no longer exists. There is no contract. There is nothing obligating them to continue blacking out fans in the Twins territory from MLB.TV or whatever other streaming option exists. The Twins can say "we are going to sell streaming to anyone through MLB just as the Padres do. We will still sell you TV distribution rights. How much will you pay?" Bally can certainly refuse, but they're going to get dropped from every remaining cable/satellite system they're on in MN come the of the Wolves/Wild season in that case.
 

MplsGopher

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but they're going to get dropped from every remaining cable/satellite system they're on in MN come the of the Wolves/Wild season in that case.
I would love for this to be true, but somehow I fear the carriage contracts are not so easily dropped and probably aren’t renewed annually.
 

howeda7

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I would love for this to be true, but somehow I fear the carriage contracts are not so easily dropped and probably aren’t renewed annually.
The contracts end when they end but most of them have provisions that lower the fee if any of the primary teams are lost. As of now they basically have no programming once the Wolves/Wild seasons end.
 

MplsGopher

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The contracts end when they end but most of them have provisions that lower the fee if any of the primary teams are lost. As of now they basically have no programming once the Wolves/Wild seasons end.
Again, would love for the bolded to be true, but …
 

short ornery norwegian

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The contracts end when they end but most of them have provisions that lower the fee if any of the primary teams are lost. As of now they basically have no programming once the Wolves/Wild seasons end.

I think I've mentioned this before - but I've seen the contract between BSN and my local cable TV company. The contract specifies that the Twins make up 40% of the value of the channel - so if BSN loses the rights to the Twins, the monthly per-subscriber fee that the cable company pays to BSN is reduced by 40%. The Wolves and Wild are each valued at 20%, and the other programming makes up the other 20% of the value.

the contract also states that BSN cannot slap some other team on there in place of the Twins - like - for instance - putting the Brewers on.
 

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OK. So that’s true in small SW MN town municipal cable network.

Is it also true for metro area Xfinity, Spectrum, DirecTV?

“Why wouldn’t it be” isn’t a valid answer.
 

short ornery norwegian

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OK. So that’s true in small SW MN town municipal cable network.

Is it also true for metro area Xfinity, Spectrum, DirecTV?

“Why wouldn’t it be” isn’t a valid answer.

I have no direct knowledge of what happens with other cable outlets.

but, as I said, I have read the contract and It looks like a boiler-plate contract to me. that's the way most contracts that I have seen are handled. the language remains virtually the same from year to year, and the only thing that changes are the per-subscriber rates. occasionally there are amendments to the contract, but that is not typical.

the time and expense to have individual contracts with every cable outlet and provider would be considerable.

I think I can say that this year, our local tele-comm commission asked for an extension before approving the BSN contract because we wanted to run some of the provisions by the city attorney - specifically dealing with the issue of what would happen if BSN lost the rights to the Twins or other teams. we wanted to make sure that was clarified before approving the contract renewal.
 

howeda7

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I think I've mentioned this before - but I've seen the contract between BSN and my local cable TV company. The contract specifies that the Twins make up 40% of the value of the channel - so if BSN loses the rights to the Twins, the monthly per-subscriber fee that the cable company pays to BSN is reduced by 40%. The Wolves and Wild are each valued at 20%, and the other programming makes up the other 20% of the value.

the contract also states that BSN cannot slap some other team on there in place of the Twins - like - for instance - putting the Brewers on.
I'm surprised they'd even get 20% for the rest of the nothing filler they offer. In any event their days will be numbered.
 

howeda7

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OK. So that’s true in small SW MN town municipal cable network.

Is it also true for metro area Xfinity, Spectrum, DirecTV?

“Why wouldn’t it be” isn’t a valid answer.
Actually it is. No one is dumb about what they're paying for. If the contract the cable/satellite company is agreeing to is longer than the contract the network has with the main teams, they're going to have language like that in there. DirecTV isn't going to say "sure we'll sign a 4 year contract even though you only have the Twins under contract for one more year. We trust you!"
 


short ornery norwegian

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Twins have tentative 1-year deal with Diamond/Bally - pending approval by bankruptcy court judge. from ESPN:

Diamond Sports Group, the regional sports operator hoping to emerge from bankruptcy, reached agreements with the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Guardians and Minnesota Twins on linear-cable contracts for the 2024 season, providing temporary cost certainty for three Major League Baseball teams previously in limbo.

The deals are still pending the approval of a bankruptcy judge who is expected to rule Feb. 9. Assuming the agreements are finalized, Diamond has vowed to broadcast games for the 12 MLB teams that would remain within its portfolio for entire 2024 season.

A judge is expected to rule on Diamond's restructuring support agreement Feb. 26. Diamond would then have until March 22 to finalize its plan and present it to the court.

Diamond and MLB declined to comment on new terms for the Rangers, Guardians and Twins, but streaming rights are not included in the new agreement. Diamond, however, maintains streaming rights for only five MLB teams, all of which reside in smaller markets.
--------------------------------------

(and this from Sportico:)

The deals were reached through mediation sessions involving Diamond, the teams and Major League Baseball, and overseen by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur. Mediation, unlike arbitration, is non-binding. It involves the mediator proposing a solution that will become binding if all parties agree and if it is approved by the presiding judge, in this case Lopez.

(in 2023) the Twins’ local TV numbers grew 34% to nearly 30,000 homes per outing.
 


short ornery norwegian

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looks like Friday may be the day - Bankruptcy Court hearing (virtual) for Diamond Sports. Items on the agenda all concern the Twins, Guardians and Rangers. a couple of excerpts:

3. Debtors’ Emergency Motion for Entry of an Order (I) Authorizing Entry Into and Performance Under Amendment to Twins Telecast Rights Agreement and Ancillary Agreements; (II) Authorizing Assumption of Twins Telecast Rights Agreement and Ancillary Agreements; and (III) Granting Related Relief [Docket No. 1687; SEALED at Docket No. 1688].

Status: The Debtors have received no objections, and therefore believe this matter is uncontested.

6. Debtors’ Emergency Motion for Entry of an Order Authorizing Debtors to File Under Seal Exhibit A to the Debtors’ Emergency Motion for Entry of an Order (I) Authorizing Entry Into and Performance Under Amendment to Twins Telecast Rights Agreement and Ancillary Agreements; (II) Authorizing Assumption of Twins Telecast Rights Agreement and Ancillary Agreements; and (III) Granting Related Relief [Docket No. 1691].

Status: The Debtors have received no objections, and therefore believe this matter is uncontested.

7. Debtors’ Motion for Entry of an Order (I) Authorizing Debtors to File the Exhibit and Witness List Under Seal and (II) Granting Related Relief [Docket No. 1700].


--I am not a lawyer, but I see all the "motion to file under seal" stuff and I wonder if that means that the financial details will not be made public. I guess we'll find out.
 

short ornery norwegian

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and it's a done deal - the bankruptcy court Judge has approved the terms of the new or amended agreements between Diamond/Bally and the Twins, Guardians and Rangers. But the dollar amounts of the new deals are not being released.

Tweets from Evan Drellich of The Athletic:

Judge Chris Lopez says he "happily approves" the Guardians, Rangers, Twins agreements to stay with Diamond and Bally for 2024. "A huge step forward," Lopez says. Now it's official.

Lawyer for Diamond emphasizes to the judge that MLB and Diamond want terms of new/modified 2024 TV agreements w/Guardians, Rangers, Twins sealed: "They are highly confidential, they contain sensitive commercial terms, obviously the teams would not like these in the public forum."

I will translate: "Please don't tell fans or the media how much we are paying the teams."


so, if you have a cable TV provider that offers BSN, Direct TV or Direct TV Stream, or Fubo, you can watch the Twins this season. but if you want a stand-alone streaming package for the Twins, you are out of luck for this season.
 

short ornery norwegian

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FWIW - Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred recently discussed some broadcast and streaming issues. a few details from Sports Pro Media:

Major League Baseball (MLB) wants to launch a new direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming service that would offer local live broadcasts for at least half of teams in time for the 2025 season.

The league already operates the MLB.TV platform, but this is restricted to out-of-market broadcasts. Local rights are held by an array of regional sports networks (RSNs) with in-market viewers unable to watch games involving their nearest teams.

However, ongoing uncertainty in the RSN space, the desire to expand the availability of live broadcasts and viewer frustration over restrictive blackout regulations has led MLB to reconsider this arrangement which has proved so lucrative to its clubs.

It is unclear whether the DTC service would be integrated into the existing MLB.TV platform or would be offered as a wholesale product that could be integrated into an existing streaming service, similar to the National Hockey League’s (NHL) relationship with ESPN+.

“Realistically, my target to having a digital package I can take to market would be for the ’25 season,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly said after an owners meeting in Florida.

The catalyst for this latest push is the financial situation at Diamond Sports Group (DSG), whose Bally Sports network of RSNs own the local rights to 12 MLB teams, having relinquished the rights to the San Diego Padres and the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the decision by Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) to exit the RSN space.

A newly-established MLB local media division has taken on the responsibility of producing Padres, Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies games, while other teams have established their own RSN operations. The Rockies’ local broadcast plans are still yet to be determined.
 




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