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Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
Evan Grant

Bally Sports’ parent company expected to retain Rangers broadcasts, make rights payment

The next big day in the battle over the Rangers’ local TV rights is Thursday, but it may be a bit anti-climactic.

All indications are that Diamond Sports Holdings, the bankrupt parent of Bally Sports Southwest, will make the rights payment due the Rangers on June 15. If so, that would seem to settle the situation, at least for the remainder of this season. And, yes, it would mean the Rangers broadcast situation would be unchanged.

Diamond is no longer delinquent in terms of payments due to the Rangers, which was the club’s major contention when it sought to force Diamond to reject the rights. Diamond had missed its April 15 payment, triggering the Rangers’ decision to join several other clubs in seeking to have Diamond’s rights forfeited. Since then, Diamond has brought up its account to good standing with the Rangers, two people with knowledge of the situation told The Dallas Morning News.

Had Diamond been willing to walk away from the Rangers, it likely would have already done so, rather than make payments. Diamond skipped payments to the San Diego Padres earlier this season and surrendered rights. The Padres broadcasts have been overtaken by MLB.

It would amount to a win for the Rangers, giving them some degree of cost certainty ahead of the MLB trade deadline, during which time increasing team payroll can be difficult based on previous budgets.

How it would impact fans’ ability to view the team’s broadcasts remains cloudy. Diamond and it’s string of Bally-branded regional sports networks have simply not signed agreements with many cable providers. Diamond would like to add the ability to stream direct to consumer, as that market appears to be growing at the expense of cable, but MLB has long held those rights and it seems unlikely the league would surrender those rights without significant compensation.

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