Last week it was reported by the Sports Business Journal that Bally Sports had made all of their “owed” payments to teams in Major League Baseball with the exception of the Arizona Diamondbacks. But on Sunday it was reported in the New York Post by Josh Kosman that they had learned that Diamond Sports, owners of the Bally Sports regional sports networks, was expected to use their bankruptcy proceedings to reject the contracts of at least four Major League Baseball teams that it pays more in rights fees to than it collects through their contracts with providers and ads. There are only four teams in which that’s the case – The Diamondbacks, along with the San Diego Padres, Cleveland Guardians, and the Cincinnati Reds.

The New York Post is reporting that Major League Baseball will take over the local broadcasts and stream the games for free in those markets while the league tries to make new deals with the cable/satellite/streaming companies to carry the games. There also is a plan in place for an over the top service that would be “around $15 per month” if and when the league can find new broadcast contracts for games.

On top of the four Bally Sports contracts that aren’t expected to survive, three others – the Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Colorado Rockies – are expected to be dropped by their regional sports networks, too, after Warner Brothers Discovery said it would not make the payments on those deals.

The timeline for how all of this plays out still remains a bit unknown. And the sort of conflicting reports – whether payments were made or not, or perhaps they were and Bally Sports has no plans to make future payments – leave us all kind of sitting around and waiting to see exactly what happens. How quickly it happens, if the payments aren’t going to be made/the contracts are rejected is going to be interesting to see as well. Major League Baseball isn’t going to allow fans to miss games if they would like to watch them. But exactly how fans are going to watch games this year for several teams certainly seems a big unknown currently.

76 Responses

  1. Kevin H

    Don’t know the ends and outs. What I do know is fox sports ohio was great when it came to Reds baseball being on TV.

  2. Doc

    I suspect this is information that the Reds ownership was aware of long before it became public, and played into decision making during the off-season. It is also likely that this information was not available until becoming public, to the many critics of Reds spending decisions the past few months.

    Perhaps some of the spending decisions were prudent, especially with the Bally situation coming not very long after the pandemic effects on revenue.

    • Jon

      The Padres are one of the four teams and they spent like no one else (other than the Mets).

    • Jim Walker

      A contrasting point of view is that at the time the Reds signed the TV contract with the then Fox RSN, they were reputed to be among the strongest MLB properties in terms of their RSN TV ratings.

      Where they are today is the result of a nearly decade run of losing games and fans. Over this decade, the ownership has been consistently reactive and frittered away much of the regional following which built those ratings. Win and they will watch and come to your games. Lose and they will (and have) found other things to watch and do.

      No doubt we will be having a which came first, the chicken or the egg argument here and in other places here for a while to come.

    • Doug Gray

      Except for the fact that the San Diego Padres are also one of the teams that Bally Sports is expected to reject a contract with….. Maybe it’s just time to call a spade a spade and say the Reds are operating like a minor league franchise when it comes to investing money in their product.

      • Ksdavis

        Doug, I have said for years that the Reds were foolish to continue to count on TV money. All we heard is “ we will get more money so we can compete “. How did that turn out. Bad decision after bad decision with no direction and plan. And I am one who never agreed with the decision to give the contracts to Phillips and Votto that they did. Phillips should have been two years less and Votto contract should’ve ended last year.

      • John HARRIS

        That’s well put! The ownership of the Reds doesn’t seem to care about having a winning product, nor a happy city. Much like the vibe in Pittsburgh. Obviously, they do not care enough about their teams to think about the fanbase.
        I think the question is nowadays, how bad is it going to get in Cincinnati? Will they even have a team in a couple years to cheer for?

      • LDS

        Couldn’t agree more, but dollars to donuts, Castellini uses this as an excuse to cut more payroll.

      • BK

        It’s also unclear how the Padres are going to sustain their spending. Their current strategy constitutes a sample size of one.

      • Doug Gray

        Their plan to sustain it is by selling 40,000 tickets a night at a premium rate because they’ve got stars on the field who are going to win a lot of baseball games. It’s literally the St. Louis Cardinals model, but energized a little more in a market that can charge more for tickets.

      • BK

        Let’s hope the Padres’ model proves workable over multiple seasons. Forbes reported that the Padres earned just $22 per ticket in the 2021 season (the Reds earned $24/per ticket, and the Cards made $36/per ticket). Their revenue per fan also trails the Reds and Cards.

        The Padres drew about 800K more fans in 2022 than in 2021. We’ll see how that affects their gate revenue and operating income (loss) when the following Forbes report comes out in a few weeks. It will also be worth noting whether their debt/value percentage increases. Their model appears pretty shaky, but I would love to be proven wrong.

      • Swayback8

        What is Peter Seidler’s net worth? What is Bob’s net worth?

      • Doug Gray

        What is the net worth of the 20 people and corporations that own the Reds? Bob’s “net worth” means nothing without knowing the answer to how much the net worth of the rest of the ownership group is. Which we don’t. But also, it’s a billion-dollar company, so the Reds ownership’s net worth is well over a billion dollars unless they are the worst business people in the history of the world and are operating the rest of their lives in a massive hole somehow.

      • Swayback8

        So the main owner having a worth 10 times doesn’t make a difference? Also, during his tenure, outside of the last 4yrs the Reds have out spent the Padres significantly. Even though the Padres have out performed them in attendance.

  3. Jim Walker

    Ah, what goes around comes around. And so now the leader of the outliers that tried to crash the CBA settlement this time last year will be hat in hand to the commissioner looking for a bailout.

    I hope the commissioner sees this as an opportunity to force a regime change at GABP.

    • MBS

      I hope more there’s than just a regime change coming from all of this. Baseball needs to fix a lot of issues on the financial side of things. I like what they’re doing on the game side, pitch clock, larger bases, and shift banning. It should make a more enjoyable game to watch.

      • Jim Walker

        I agree. Another irony here is that some of the provisions in the 1st version of the tentative CBA presented to the owners which Castellini is reported to have organized his outlier revolt to block may well have been the first steps toward changes in how the finances of MLB were to work. Manfred supposedly had the votes to force that version through but backed off and gave some ground to get “unanimous” approval on the owners’ side.

        As I have said in other recent comments here, if Manfred gets his vision of how TV and streaming of games would work, there will almost certainly be significant changes in sharing of that revenue among the teams.

  4. Jon

    Just curious, but how will this affect John Sadak and the other television broadcasters? Are they paid by Bally or by the Reds directly?

    • Doug Gray

      They are paid by Bally Sports. But the article from the Post says that MLB would plan to bring the current broadcasters in to continue calling the games if a team loses their contract.

      • greenmtred

        I get Reds games by buying a single-team package from MLB.TV. Will that still work?

      • SOQ

        As long as they bring Annie Sabo back, I’ll be happy 🙂

  5. Wendell Booten

    Just wondering. I live in southern WV and have seen no spring training games so far on Bally sports. When the regular season starts, I usually get to see quite a bit of the games. According to the article MLB will be televising all(most) of Reds games that you will be able to watch without a subscription to MLB-tv?

    • Jim Walker

      Let’s hope you fall inside whatever regional lines are drawn for Reds access outside of paid MLB-TV. 😉

      In regards to my comment above, do you recall or know if once upon a time the Reds had a greater or full time presence on your local cable or satellite system?

      • Wendell Booten

        Last year I splurged on MLB-tv and was unable to see a single Reds game due to blackouts. My cable provider started showing the Reds games through Bally sports on a TBN channel. It would break in and show most of the games. That’s why I’m wondering about the MLB-tv now. Don’t want to get my hopes up that I’ll be able to watch free on it or get my hopes dashed if I buy MLB-tv and am still blacked out of every single game. Guess I’ll have to wait and see.

    • Colorado Red

      If you do not, cut the cord, get a package if you want, then go to
      Price is about 130 a year for a single team, with a military Vet (Or active duty), getting a 35% discount.
      There are several streaming package that can replace cable.
      Living in Colorado, I thinking about the packages (have a few days to make a decision).

      • Wayne Nabors

        Unless it went up this year,I pay 79 .00 a year as a vet but I get all the games except cardinals, because I’m in there coverage area,perdy sure that 130.00 would be for all teams not just one

      • JB

        If you have T-Mobile phone service they are giving customers free MLB tv again this year. My daughter has T-Mobile and I get MLBtv through her. So if you know somebody maybe you can get it from them.

  6. MK

    I’ve already started paying my annual subscription to Direct TV. Without Reds they will be refunding some money.

  7. Castellinis Onions

    “Major League Baseball isn’t going to allow fans to miss games if they would like to watch them.” Are we sure about that lol?

  8. Doug Gray

    The New York Post link has been updated after it broke for some reason.

  9. Jon

    So will the Reds games be available on television at all?

    • Doug Gray

      To be determined.

      There was a report a few weeks ago that MLB had planned to broadcast local games on MLB Network (which is different than – I’ve seen multiple people thinking that they are the same thing).

      Unfortunately I think we’re all going to just have to wait and see since there seems to be a lot of moving parts still, and the parts aren’t for certain moving – just lots of unnamed sources and rumors, some of which are conflicting a little bit even within the last 48 hours.

  10. LDS

    I see Nightengale is reporting that Senzel won’t be used this week and will not be ready for Opening Day. Big surprise. That coupled with no commitment on Votto for Opening Day, leaves a couple of roster spots open to debate (unless the Reds just carry them both and run short-handed as they have in the past).

    • Jon

      Benson has to be the CF at this point. Is there anyone I’m forgetting?

      • LDS

        I agree with you. The question is whether Krall does.

      • Doug Gray

        TJ Friedl shouldn’t be written off. He’s hitting .320 and slugging .560 this spring. He’s a good defender and he’s been a quality hitter in his 86 big league games.

      • Redsvol

        Tj friedl a very good defender and hit a lot better after his callup last year. Benson can play right field when myers plays first.

      • MK

        Friedl , though I think Benson as well.

    • Optimist

      How much does this affect Fairchild being on the 26-man? Hoping he is, for several reasons. Continue to think it should be the 3-Fs, Benson and Myers.

      • LDS

        I’m expecting Fairchild to be sent to Louisville soon, maybe this week. He’s not hitting particularly well thus far and is well behind some of the others in PAs. Probably true of Lopez as well. Siani is already gone. Myers, Friedl, and Fraley make it. Benson maybe. Hopefully, Pinder is reassigned this week, along with a number of others. The expected starters aren’t hitting well just yet. Time to start focusing on the 26.

      • Optimist

        LDS – that’s only 4 outfielders, 3 1/2 if Myers is needed at 1b for any duration, unless Pinder stays. Need a R bat and would prefer Fairchild there as well, to offset/platoon the Friedl, Fraley, Benson LH bats.

        Also expect we may see Siani in MLB sooner rather than later, especially if he starts well in Louisville.

      • LDS

        Anyone but Pinder. I guess Ramos is still an option. Bottom line, a lot of work over the next couple of weeks if the Reds aren’t going to limp out the gate. Perhaps, a bit optimistic for me, but I’d like to see them try.

      • Jim Walker

        I think one roster spot comes down to Pinder or Fairchild (had this as a 3 way contest including Senzel until today’s news). If they want maximum utility, I suppose Pinder gets the spot. If they want at least 1 pure OF who bats RH and can who can play all 3 spots as well or better as anyone else on the team, Fairchild gets it.

        Fairchild had a .800/118 OPS/OPS+ in 99 PAs at MLB in 2022 and has a career AAA OPS of ~.900 in 350-400 PAs across 3 seasons. His MLB handedness splits at MB in 2022 compared to Pinder were +.100 vs RH pitchers and just short of +.200 versus LH pitchers. So who do you want to be platooning with Fraley or playing RH if Meyers is at 1B or 3B?

      • LDS

        Pinder is the very definition of mediocre. Fairchild’s career numbers are far better. And Fairchild’s splits are better than most of the team (BA .250 vs. 244 last year). But, that’s not how the Reds think. At least, we’ve not seen evidence that they think that way. And Fairchild is “only” an outfielder, hence less “utility”.

    • old-school

      It really depends upon Votto at this point. If Votto is out, then Myers becomes a bigger piece of the first base puzzle. Fraley and Friedl and Benson are the core 3 lefty outfielders with Myers as a the righty. I see Benson as a primary CF. If Myers has significant playing time at first base, then the Reds will need a dedicated OF and that’ s where Fairchild may be the 26th guy. IF Votto is playing, then Myers plays RF mostly and the OF is covered with Fraley,Friedl, Benson as the other 3 primary OF’ers with potentially Fraley flexing at DH on occasion. The 5th OF would then be a multi-positional depth piece who plugs and plays occasionally across the corner IF and Corner OF.

      The interesting thing would be if Votto isnt ready and the Reds want to give CES a 2 week cup of coffee at 1b/DH sharing with Stephenson and keep Myers as the primary RF. That would be interesting but I will believe it when I see it.

      • Jim Walker

        Sounds like we are in about the same place except I think it is harder to look past Fraley’s career splits vs LH pitching and not carry a true RH hitting OF, especially one who can play all 3 positions arguably as good as or better than any of the other 4 except perhaps Benson.

      • Optimist

        I’ve wondered about the CES cup of coffee out of the gate, coupled with keeping Fairchild. That would be a sign of moving forward now rather than keeping the flexible veteran presences. Really bold would be releasing Pinder now and anticipating trading both Newman and Myers mid-season, and if any of the outfielders falter, then move on to Siani and commit to Barrero/McLain/EDLC/Marte depending on who performs best in MiLB.

        The goal should be no 30 year olds on the 40-man in November, other than backup C’s and 1 or 2 relievers.

      • David

        Pinder. The name you are looking for is Pinder. The seance with David Bell’s grandfather (Gus Bell) last night convinced me of this.

        And that is about as logical as the next explanation of why the Reds do what they do.

      • MK

        Maybe Stephenson takes first full time until Votto’s return. However Votto’s defense is so poor I would prefer him at DH.

      • TR

        As long as David Bell is in the dugout and his father is in the front office the Tampa Bay Rays ‘go young’ style without routine veteran presence will not be the way of the Reds.

  11. Cbus Guy

    So I’m in this situation:
    — No cable (No Bally’s etc)
    — My Columbus zip code puts me in the ‘Home Team Territory’ of 3 teams, Reds, Cleveland, Pirates.
    — I’ve never used MLB TV, but let’s say I want to use it to view the Reds. Are there still home team blackouts? Will this require an out-of-market add-on?

    • Doug Gray

      At least for the time being there would be no blackouts according to multiple reports.

  12. Rednat

    i wonder if more people will come out to the park now just to enjoy baseball again. it seems like the league is just dying from the bottom up. maybe the rule changes and now no tv contracts will allow the game to get back to its roots and try to reinvent itself. i don’t have a smart phone so it will be radio and in person for me, just like when i was growing up

    • Doug Gray

      Do you not own a television? Because almost every television made in the last decade is a smart tv that has access to, which will have the Reds games on if you want to watch them (in the scenario where Bally Sports rejects the contract)

      • Jim Walker

        Or watch on a tablet or PC like I usually do by choice.

        I am hoping I have a chance to cancel Spectrum cable for several months (at least) so I can get dropped to the lower rate tier again since they have bounced my TV/ internet bundle up to around $200 a month (again).

        And if things shake out that I can get the Reds for $15-20 a month on direct streaming, I might not go back to Spectrum cable at all depending on their bundle rates vs. just internet from them and picking and choosing among streamers for other stuff.

      • David

        I have 400 MBS high speed with Spectrum, for computer use and streaming. My wife works from home, and also has a VOIP company phone that she uses. We presently have two TV’s on streaming, and might add two more. I can’t imagine having four TV’s on at once, though. 🙂
        It’s ~ $104/month. My only alternative where I live was Century Link, which is now Brightspeed, and their reputation is worse.
        I used to have Spectrum for TV, Internet (100 MBS) and VOIP phone at my old house, and it was around $186/month (2019). And I was always getting bumped off the internet, because it was “over connected”. Did I say I also hate cable, which is why we switched to streaming only in 2019?

      • Jim Walker

        @David> Technically I think we have the 3x bundle (TV/VOIP/Data) but never use the phone because after numerous trips they could not make it consistently work right even with the phone connected directly to their modem (vs the phone side of the modem connected to our home phone wiring so we could have the master cordless phone in the living room area).

        They said there was a fault in our home phone wiring but then of course couldn’t explain when the same goofy stuff continued to happen with the phone (on their approved list) connected directly to the modem. so we bought one of those home cells in a box to hook the phones to since my wife wants a central line vs just our cells.

        Then I bought a modem of my own and the internet has worked fine most of the time since. Whenever it starts to get cranky, I reboot the modem and it usually gets a push update that apparently went out automatically to Spectrum’s own modems.

      • McChaney

        MLB.TV is just broadcasting the local broadcasts. If Bally Sports quits broadcasting, then MLB.TV will have nothing to broadcast. MLB.TV doesn’t have its own announcers or production crews. They are just a company that makes these local games available worldwide for a subscription fee. MLB would have to allow Bally’s to continue broadcasting games while in bankruptcy, while skipping payments, in order to keep the games on air, locally and on MLB.TV. Correct?

      • Doug Gray

        No. MLB has plans in place to take over all production for the games, including providing the cameras persons, staff, crew, announcers, etc. if Bally Sports backs out.

      • Bill Newell

        Yes, I own a TV. However I live in a rural area with no cable. And high speed internet is too expensive. I pay $50/mo for 15 gigs. Extra gigs cost $7 each. My understanding is you use 3 gigs an hour which means a 3 hour game would cost 9 gigs. If they play 25 games a month that would be 225 gigs a month. Hopefully, the subscription to MLB includes the necessary data or baseball is priced only for the rich.

      • David

        @ Jim Walker (if you read this old thread).
        We got a real landline, which my wife used to use a lot. That is about $54/month.
        High speed internet carries all the streaming and internet you need.

        This was still cheaper (and better) than the Spectrum bundle of TV (cable), internet (data) and VOIP. The Voip phone at my old house was always going out, too. Spectrum…..bahhhh! 🙂

      • Luke J

        @Jim Newell I think you should look into internet service through your cell phone carrier. You can get a modem/router from your cell phone provider that will provide a home wifi network for about the same cost as cable/DSL internet and it doesn’t matter if you live in the country. And basically every cell phone company has abandoned data usage limits in favor of unlimited plans. In 2023 it’s crazy to still be operating on data limits.

      • Luke J

        Oops, I meant @Bill Newell. Apologies.

  13. RedBB

    Stupid Disney! I blame then for all of this…

    • Jim Walker

      This thought has crossed my mind more than once. They undercut Sony’s cable replacement streaming package then sold the Fox RSNs to Sinclair (DSG’s owner) who have priced themselves off just about every other streamer.

      • O

        Well, you can’t really call a corporation (Disney) “stupid” for selling a subsidiary business (the Fox RSNs) for about twice what they were worth. You can call (and I have called) Sinclair/DSG stupid for doing so.

        I’ve also called the junior bondholders who funded the stupid purchase “double secret stupid” for doing so, leaving themselves with a near 100% loss.

      • Jim Walker

        O>> Maybe in a different world there would be a sense of corporate responsibility about taking the money and running versus selling something for less to an entity that appeared financially capable of continuing to operate the business being sold. How many times do we need to experience the fallout of leveraged sales before we realize they almost inevitably have bad outcomes for consumers?

      • Bill Newell

        I have my internet through Verizon with a router as mentioned. Unlimited internet does NOT mean unlimited high speed internet! After yo use your gigs your service reverts to 600 Kb/s which is less than dial up speed. Streaming baseball will not work out here. They have to put the games on satillite or over the air TV or we will be radio only.

    • Votto4life

      Maybe broadcasting baseball games is just not as profitable as it once was. Five years ago, I would have panicked at the thought of not being able to watch the Reds on TV. Today, I figure it will all work out somehow and if not, oh well.

      Last year I took the Phil Castellini challenge and it didn’t ruin my life. I followed the game on line when I could, but didn’t watch a lot of games. I only attended one game last year, which is the fewest games I have attended since I learned how to drive nearly 50 years ago.

      I don’t know what baseball is going to do when the older generation start to die off. I assume the recent rule changes are designed to address the issue. Who knows if it will be enough.

      • jazzmanbbfan

        I watched 3 games on TV last year, opening day and 2 on AppleTV. Haven’t been to a game in person since 2016 other than a couple of trips to spring training. I took Phil’s advice, albeit a few years earlier. Sadly I used to go to about 25 games a year.

  14. Steve

    Maybe the change will allow us to see Reds baseball now on I changed from DISH to 2 yeas ago and have not been able to watch the Reds since then. Even when broadcasted a Reds game, the game would be blacked out even if the game was played in LA.

    • Wayne Nabors

      3 yrs ago u would have, t.v lost bally sports when they got in a tiff with dish and other suppliers,same happened here with bally sports midwest