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MLB to broadcast San Diego Padres games after Diamond Sports halted payments

Daniel Camarena of the San Diego Padres hits a grand slam during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals at Petco Park in San Diego on July 8, 2021.

Denis Poroy | Getty Images Sport | fake images

The San Diego Padres have a new home base on television.

Major League Baseball will broadcast and produce the team’s home games beginning Wednesday after the owner of Bally Sports San Diego, its regional sports network for in-market home games, dropped the team.

Diamond Sports, which filed for bankruptcy in March, said its Bally Sports San Diego would broadcast its last Padres game on Tuesday after it opted out of making any more royalty payments to the team. The move comes as Diamond pushes for direct-to-consumer broadcast rights for all MLB teams airing on its regional sports networks.

“MLB has forced our hand over its continued refusal to trade direct-to-consumer (DTC) broadcast rights for all teams in our portfolio despite our proposal to pay each team in full in exchange for those rights,” he said. a Diamond spokesperson in a statement. statement. The company has noted that it has significant liquidity and is still able to make rights payments and carry other MLB teams in its portfolio.

MLB announced it would take control beginning with the Padres’ game against the Miami Marlins on Wednesday. Fans in the Padres market will be able to watch games on cable television or through the league’s MLB.TV streaming app for $19.99 a month or $74.99 for the remainder of the season.

“As previously stated by Commissioner Manfred, Major League Baseball stands ready to produce and distribute Padres games to fans throughout Padres territory,” Noah Garden, MLB’s chief revenue officer, said in a statement. “While we are disappointed that Diamond Sports Group has not honored its contractual agreement with the Club, we are taking this opportunity to reinvent the distribution model, eliminate blackouts at local games, improve broadcast and expand the reach of games. of the Padres. by more than 2 million households”.

The acquisition of MLB means that Padres home games will no longer be subject to a blackout on MLB.TV, as is the case with other local teams. MLB added that it would make games free through June 4 with an MLB login at MLB.com, Padres.com or the MLB apps.

On cable television, Padres games will be available through four providers: Charter Communications’ Spectrum, Cox Communications, DirecTV and AT&T U-verse. MLB said it would increase the reach of Padres home games from approximately 1.13 million households to approximately 3.3 million households.

Bally Sports San Diego is backed by a joint ownership between Diamond and the team. The Padres signed a 20-year, $1.2 billion deal with Fox Sports in 2012.

When Disney acquired Fox assets, it had to get rid of the Fox Sports networks. Disney sold the networks, later renamed Bally Sports, to the Sinclair Broadcast Group in 2019 for $10.6 billion, which included approximately $8 billion in debt.

The debt burden has locked the nets ever since. Diamond is now an unconsolidated and independently managed subsidiary of Sinclair.

Broadcast rights for MLB teams have been a particular sticking point between Diamond and the league for some time. While Diamond had obtained broadcast rights to all of the NBA and NHL teams that he broadcasts on his regional sports networks, he had been working team-by-team in MLB.

In previous months, Diamond had skipped payments from other MLB teams, including the Arizona Diamondbacks, in an attempt to win broadcast rights. Diamond owns 19 regional sports networks under the Bally Sports brand.

Diamond was previously forced in the bankruptcy case to make partial payments to teams it had failed to pay.