The rumor that has been around for months now seems to finally be happening. Diamond Sports Group, the operators of Bally Sports Ohio, has informed the Cincinnati Reds that they will not be paying their rights fees for broadcasting their games.This first began to circulate back in January, with the Reds named specifically a little more than a month ago.

John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal notes that they have a 15-day grace period in which they can make the payment without any penalty. He’s reporting several interesting things. The first being that since the Reds own part of Bally Sports Ohio that it was not a part the Diamond Sports Group bankruptcy proceedings. That would make it a different kind of situation than several other teams that also did not receive their scheduled payments on time.

Due to that situation, Major League Baseball is of the belief that if the payment is not made within the next 15 days that they will immediately be able to take back the broadcast rights to the Cincinnati Reds games. The first game that would be “up in the air” would be Saturday May 6th against the Chicago White Sox.

Major League Baseball has been planning for such a scenario for many of their teams and has a plan in place to take over the production and broadcasts of games immediately if that needs to happen. Fans will not have to go without seeing the games on television – at least to the point where they will have the option to watch it somehow. Ourand reports that Major League Baseball has a “handshake agreement” in place with DirecTV and Spectrum to distribute the games if it comes down to them having to take over the games. They would not continue to broadcast them on Bally Sports Ohio if they do take over the production, but what channel they would be on wasn’t stated. Previous reports suggested that in the short term a scenario like this could lead to the games being placed on MLB Network in the local broadcast areas. has also been mentioned as a potential option – even in areas that would otherwise be blacked out.

The Reds broadcast team would appear to remain as it is now. And much of the working staff that produces the games now would also remain as it appears almost all of that work is contracted out to a company that could and would just be re-hired to do the same thing for Major League Baseball.

40 Responses

  1. Rednat

    got to dig up my old batteries for my am radio. 700wlw here we come!

  2. ekureds

    The iHeart radio app/website has done wonders for me this year.

    • Chris

      Me too, until about a week ago that it said I was out of the broadcast area and blacked me out. I live a 100 miles away and I can’t listen or watch my favorite team.

      • LarkinPhillips

        I live in Bristol TN. (300+ miles away). My local TV providers wont provide Bally sports OH because my region is the Southeast. However, MLB network blacks me out because I am “in network.” I finally purchased a VPN and watch the Reds that way. To me it absurd to try to say they want the “game to grow” while making it nearly impossible for existing fans (who are willing to pay) to watch the game.

  3. Jim Walker

    Oh, how I hope MLB streams the Reds directly even if I have to pay them. I’m stuck with Spectrum as my broadband provider; but, this would be the perfect time to dump their cable and get my rates reset by next fall in time for CBJ hockey if they are still on Bally for the 2023-24 seasons. (Fortunately, the Buckeyes Football always seems to end up on OTA TV here in the Dayton market area)

    • Melvin

      Spectrum in Indy does not carry all of the Reds games on Bally Sports. I have an MLB subscription and would rather watch them on there which are now blacked out.

  4. Jedi Joey

    I’m just praying that the antiquated black out rule finally gets buried with this. I’m tired of being blacked out and living 3 1/2 hours away. Give me a reasonable streaming package and I’m game.

    • Michael

      The problem is everyone doesn’t have internet like myself I use the hotspot on my phone for the internet to use my laptop I’m not about to pay 50 60 70 or 80 dollars to spectrum or whoever for internet content when I can pull off the cloud on my phone absolutely makes no sense that internet pricing should be what they are and the reason they’re doing it that high they know people were streaming

    • CFD3000

      Same! 5 hours 52 minutes from my house in Asheville, NC to GABP. Ridiculous.

      • Melvin

        Can’t believe you guys are that far away and still blacked out. It’s ridiculous.

  5. Chris

    I watch through black market most of the times, because that’s my only option in Nashville. We are blacked out on MLB. We get the Bally’s OH feed, but more often than not, something else plays in it’s place, so no option to watch the game. It’s ridiculous that that is what it has come to in 2023. What a JOKE!

    • Luke J

      I live in northern Ohio. I get Bally Sports Ohio through my cable feed, but like you it doesn’t broadcast the games in my area. I also subscribe to and the games are blacked out for me. So I am in the same situation as you. I discovered that if I use the Bally Sports app on my smart tv/phone/PC that I can get the Reds game streams even when something else is broadcasting on Bally Sports Ohio on cable. Hope that helps (although it sounds like it might be moot in 15 days).

      • Jim Walker

        Do you have access to an alternate channel via cable streaming? Here in Dayton, the Reds get top priority over both the Cavs and CBJ; but, I can often stream CBJ through the cable provider’s streaming service on the alternate channel in the sports area of their higher tier. For me, that is much easier than the Bally app which seems more prone to sticking and pixelation despite being on the same network and running on the same equipment and WiFi on my end.

    • Jim Walker

      And I think back to the days not that long ago traveling back and forth by car between Ohio and Georgia when a person could almost always count on a motel having the Reds game on their TV system be that in southern KY or somewhere in TN. I recall once even in the greater Atlanta area at a motel with shaky WiFi, I unable to get the Reds radio feed on my laptop and then discovered the game was on the TV. And no, they were not playing the Braves.

      I think the contraction of “Reds Country” is among the greatest negative legacies of the Castellini era; and, shrinking TV availability is a hallmark of it.

  6. Mark Moore

    I do hope y’all get the benefit of a blackout lifted as a result. Those are such leftovers from a bygone era anyway in 90% of the cases.

    • Jedi Joey

      I agree, Mark. It’s time for MLB to get with the technology of 2023. I wonder how many people still subscribe to cable and satellite services? I’m sure there are plenty but nothing like years ago. I cut the cord over 10 years ago and won’t look back.

      • Doug Gray

        The problem here is that many of the television contracts were for 15-30 years, and they were signed before any real streaming service besides Netflix existed.

    • Jedi Joey

      @Doug, wow! I hadn’t realized that. That is crazy.

      • Doug Gray

        Yeah – it’s created some real problems. One of the reasons (though not the only one) this whole Bally Sports thing is falling apart across sports in general, but with baseball specifically is that when Sinclair bought all of the Fox Sports Ohio networks they had a plan to stream the baseball games through their betting app with Bally’s Casinos. They didn’t understand that those online streaming rights did not come with that purchase for all but like 3-4 teams and that they couldn’t go forward with that plan.

        That led to them having to try and make up their money they paid for these channels elsewhere, which led to them asking for way too much money to keep them on both your corded providers as well as your streaming services, and many such providers said thanks buy not thanks – that’s too much money to ask. That’s then resulted in tons of lost money in the short term for them, as well as many fans not even having access to the games. It’s just been a huge mess.

  7. Jedi Joey

    I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana. My solution has been to subscribe to the At Bat app for 19.99 a year. You get all the radio broadcasts for every team, condensed games later to view, and pop up notifications and highlight vids throughout the game. The best part is that 19.99 gets you access to to watch minor league games as well. Best 20 bucks I’ve ever spent.

    • Jonathan Linn

      I’ve done the same thing here in South Bend, Indiana…

  8. Votto4life

    More concerned how this will affect the team financially. The set a team record with only 7,000 in the stands last night.

    I can’t see the Castellini spending money this off season with poor attendance and no TV contract in place.

    • MBS

      Bob and Phil can’t expect fans to invest in them when they’ve failed to invest in the fans interest. Maybe it will begin a change of ownership? They can cash out now get their payday, and let the fans have a better ownership group.

    • Greenfield Red

      They HAVE to spend this off season or they will lose the few fans that are currently interested.

    • Votto4life

      Sorry Jim W. I now see you referenced the article in the other thread.

    • Rednat

      as a fan base we can complain all we want about ownership, but we do bear some of the responsibility too. remember the 2010 nl central clinching game with the Bruce homer. the stands were half empty. would that be the case in NY, chicago or LA?
      FACE it ,we are not the hardiest of fan bases.

      • Jedi Joey

        I was at that game. It didn’t seem half empty to me. The atmosphere was so amazing after that home run! I looked it up and the attendance was 30,151. I don’t know if that is just paid attendance.

      • Votto4life

        Jedi Joey I was there too. One of the most exciting games I have ever attended.

      • TR

        A few observations regarding Red’s attendance. The long-established Cincinnati Reds have a good fanbase and good attendance is based, imo, on having outstanding offense. This has consistently been missing for many years. Prior to the 1930’s, the Red’s ballpark was called Redland Field and it was considered one of the largest playing fields in the major leagues. After the Depression, Powell Crosley became the owner of the Reds and the name of the park was changed to Crosley Field, and the shortened fences and terrace made Crosley a real hitters ballpark. For me, a hitter reminiscent of Big Klu, Johnny Bench, or even Greg Vaughan leading the offense is needed to return good attendance figures to the Reds.

    • wutinthehail

      Any reasoning behind the embarrassing attendance figure last night is BS. The alignment of factors attributed to the empty seats is seen several times per year in Cincinnati and it never resulted in lower attendance. Also, there is no way there were more than 3000 fans at the game last night.

  9. Pete

    I am a big fan of Redleg Nation for many years; thank you so much for everything you do. I’m born and raised in Southern Ohio, but have lived in San Diego for the last 24 years. The Reds are in my blood, but I have been a Padre season ticket holder for the past 14 years. I’ve gone through a lot of losing seasons, but what has always amazed me is the ability of Padre fans to always come out and either sell the stadium out or show a respectable crowd. Granted, this year has been a bit different, but we have already had 9 sellouts. Even when the team wasn’t good for many years, people always came to games. I travel a lot and go to as many baseball games as possible. For years, it has always disappointed me to see the lack of attendance at Reds games if they aren’t winning. It’s noticeable. Even when they are winning, it’s tough to pack that stadium consistently. This was even before the Castellini comments. I wonder what other folks think? I am in no ways knocking fans from Ohio– I am one of them! It’s in my blood. I’ve always just been a bit puzzled even looking at other similar midwestern cities like Milwaukee and St. Louis. San Diego isn’t exactly a large market either but they will draw close to 3M this year and consistently draw over 2M no matter the team they put on the field.

  10. Chris

    Is Bally Sports being allowed to keep the teams they want while just deciding to cut the teams they don’t? I’m not sure how big this company is or how many other teams they broadcast but this seems weird.

  11. SlippinJimmy

    MLB is so stupid–If I want to pay money to watch my favorite team’s games, why the heck can I not do that? I live 3 hours away from Cincinnati, yet I’m still “subject to blackout.” I wouldn’t go to games anyway because I’d simply rather watch on tv.

    It’s an archaic ideology.

    • Doug Gray

      Because MLB gets billions of dollars from the sports networks so you pay your local cable/satellite provider to carry that station. Until the last few years it was an incredible business model. Now it’s not working out so great, but the contracts were very long term (15-30 years for most of them), so they can’t just change the rules for fun.

  12. Jimbo44CN

    I will continue to get to watch the games somehow, even if it costs me a bit more.
    Keeping the same broadcast team is the biggest disappointment to me. Sadak, Uggghhh

  13. Rcsodak

    “Watch it” on B/R sports for free.