Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Broadcasting & Cable
Broadcasting & Cable
Daniel Frankel

Diamond Pays the Cleveland Guardians to Keep Them on Bally Sports Through July

Cleveland Guardians

Sinclair's bankrupt regional sports networks subsidiary Diamond Sports Group has rendered a payment to the Cleveland Guardians, ensuing that the Major League Baseball team will remain on Bally Sports Great Lakes through July. 

The payment, first reported by Crain’s Cleveland Business, only temporarily suspends the drama surrounding the local TV rights for a handful of MLB teams. 

Diamond, which is restructuring in a Houston bankruptcy court, has a July 15 deadline to pay the Cincinnati Reds, which own part of Bally Sports Ohio. Miss that payment and the Reds can tear up their contract with Diamond and start broadcasting their own games locally in coordination with the league.

Diamond also has a July 17 hearing date to discuss the status of its negotiations with the Arizona Diamondbacks, another club on which it is losing money every season. 

Earlier this week, Diamond rendered a payment to the Minnesota Twins, covering Bally Sports rights through the end of the regular MLB season. But that contract will expire in September and there's no indicator it'll get renewed. 

Diamond, which currently has leverage through Chapter 11, wants the teams in question to not only renegotiate their linear local TV rights, but also surrender their direct-to-consumer streaming rights at no additional cost. 

That quest has not been going great. 

As for the Guardians, Diamond is paying the team between $47 million - $52 million a season through 2027. The subsidiary must decide it if it wants to keep the club on Bally Sports, or walk away from its contract, just as it did with the San Diego Padres back in May. 

The Guardians are currently in second place in the American League Central, just a game and a half back of the Twins. Diamond has appeared reluctant to shed contracts for teams currently enmeshed in pennant races. (Notably, the Padres have underperformed this season.)

Sinclair Broadcast Group purchased 19 Fox Sports RSNs back in 2019 for $10.6 billion. At the time, those channels were collectively spinning off profit margins in excess of 50%.

Five years of accelerated cord-cutting and sports rights costs later, those collective margins have whittled below 15%. And Diamond, set up to manage the rebranded Bally Sports channels, is trying to shed $8 billion in bankruptcy. 

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.