Last month Diamond Sports Group failed to make a payment on behalf of Bally Sports Ohio that was due. That triggered a 15-day grace period where they could still make the payment without issue. May 5th would have been the first day in which Bally Sports Ohio would not have had the broadcast rights without making that payment, but that game was going to be on Apple TV+. The next day would have been the first game where no one had a real idea of what would happen if no payment was made. MLB believed they could take over the rights, but it’s usually not as cut-and-dry as that. For now, all of that has been avoided as the payment was made on time, according to John Kiesewetter of WVXU.

For some fans this is great news. For others it is likely a big letdown.

While we certainly live in a “streaming” era, not everyone is streaming their television. A majority of people aren’t. Things are about even when it comes to the number of people streaming versus the number of people using cable and or satellite to bring in their television signal. Both are slightly ahead of viewers who only use an antenna.

One of the biggest gripes seen online with how all of this could work out if games went to a “streaming only” option if Bally Sports lost their rights was fans noting how difficult it would be to teach their parents how to find a way to access the game on their television that wasn’t “turn the TV on and go to channel 43”. Toss in that not everywhere has high speed internet and streaming isn’t even an option for them, and you had a subset of fans who could have been shut out of being able to watch games.

The flip side of that is that one of the talked about plans was that if the games broadcast rights would  have reverted back to the team and Major League Baseball that the blackout rights could have been waived and it would have been much easier for anyone to watch the games online. This was important in many cases of current “streaming” cable packages who have dropped many of the sports networks from their offerings. While people likely could have subscribed to Spectrum or Altafiber or some satellite provider that did offer Bally Sports, they weren’t willing to make that move and instead just went without the station and the games visual presentation – opting to listen to the game, follow it on Gameday, or simply not follow at all. For those people, they are still in the same situation.

How long the current payment goes through was not clear. And with Bally Sports opting to not pay other teams, it seems that they are going to continue to look at these situations on the basis of how much sense it makes for them to uphold their contract or to just let their rights revert back to the team instead of “overpaying” to continue to broadcast games.

18 Responses

  1. Ksdavis

    Doug, it was interesting reading that the Phoenix Suns are going back to broadcast TV and an Arizona centric sports network. The broadcaster is Grey TV (sp) which I think owns Channel 5 in Cincinnati.

    • Mario

      I think that would be really interesting to see the Reds back on channel 5 again. Make it free and available to everyone in the tri state area.

      • MK

        Not available North of Dayton as our reception of Cincinnati Stations is weak and is not available on our cable or satellite providers.

      • Jim Walker

        MK>>> I think the Reds would end up at the worst on one of the OTA subchannels. At the end of the hockey season, a Blue Jackets game got bumped off of both the normal Bally channels on Spectrum’s system and was available on the Spectrum channel slot which is normally filled by the channel 22 subchannel that plays those dated sporting events. I do not know if 22 subchannel carried it OTA but Spectrum had in on slot #24 right ahead of the normal sports tier. The Reds would do no worse.

  2. Mark Moore

    So Friday is a “skip” day then … any idea how many Apple games we’re involved in?

  3. mac624

    MLB will have to figure out a cable TV option if Bally Sports does go belly up. No way they can simple go stream only. I live in rural west central Indiana and have had high speed internet for over 20 years now. What’s interesting is I have better internet (much better in fact) than parts of Indianapolis and most other major cities in Indiana. I work online and have been shocked at the frequency that bigger towns and cities in Indiana lose internet altogether for days at a time. I haven’t lost mine (knock on wood) in 3 years and that was due to a fiber cut. I cut the cord years ago, but most people don’t have that luxury. It’ll be interesting to follow moving forward but until bigger cities are able to figure out legitimate internet service, my thoughts are the major sports will have to have a cable deal along with streaming options if they want to survive.

    • Doug Gray

      There was reportedly a plan in place for the Cincinnati area to have the games on both Spectrum and Altafiber. Beyond the greater Cincinnati area, though, I don’t know how it would all go. There were rumors that MLB Network would carry the local game each night, but that was just a rumor, and not every carrier has that station, either. But at least for now, that doesn’t matter much.

      • Jim Walker

        I noted elsewhere on this thread that here in Dayton at the end of hockey season when Bally gave priority to the Cavs and Reds over the Blue Jackets on their 2 slots on Spectrum, the Blue Jackets were run through a third Spectrum slot which normally carries a sub channel of one the Dayton OTA stations.

        I do not know if the Jackets were also on the actual OTA sub channel. But Spectrum will slot the Reds where folks can get the games if it is made worth their while.

  4. Brad

    I have not watched a reds game for two years. I would like to but Hulu cut Bally sports. Add that to the fact that there is only so much money to go around to pay bills. I would have a hard time justifying to the wife the costs just to watch the Reds on a seperate platform. I think that MLB needs to figure out something quick for the streaming crowd before too long or they(me) are going to realize that they just don’t miss watching a mediocre team anymore.

    • B-town Fan

      I’m in the same boat since Dish dropped Bally sports a couple years ago when they couldn’t come to an agreement. I have got to watch the Reds on national broadcasts though. but I haven’t got to see a single game this year so far not even opening day since it wasn’t on espn like the last couple of years. It’s kinda of funny and sad at the same time, that I had more access to Reds games 20 years ago, heck 30 years ago, than I do today with all of the new technology, when the Reds where on a local Indianapolis independent station that you could get on basic cable or even antenna, kinda of a sad state of affairs.

  5. Melvin

    Antenna? I didn’t realize there are still so many people using that.

    • David

      We have four TV’s (ain’t that wild?). Two are on Roku, one is for video gaming (when my wife and I are bored), and one is on an antenna.
      Eventually, all will be on Roku streaming, but that’s far in the future (maybe a month or three).
      This situation with Bally Sports probably has the Red’s Top Management scratching their heads. With low attendance and problematical pay from TV contract, well, where is the revenue coming from, Bob?

      And we wonder why the Reds are so cheap sometimes.

      • Doug Gray

        The revenue is coming from massive revenue sharing, and national television contracts (and at least for now, the local TV contract). And let’s not forget the $5M a year from Kroger for that ugly patch on the jersey.

      • Melvin

        ” And let’s not forget the $5M a year from Kroger for that ugly patch on the jersey.”

        It’s $5M? I thought it was like $50,000. lol Still though not near enough to put a Little League sponsorship patch on a ML uniform. Embarrassing. Next thing they will put TIDE on the back of the uniforms in big letters because that’s what they wash the unis in. hahaha!!!

    • Andy

      Guessing it’s not “still using” but “using again”. I hooked up antenna when I got rid of cable. Good complement to streaming services like Netflix/Disney/HBO… antenna provides sports and local news that those services are missing. And free. (NFL free over antenna is the best deal in sports television, by far.)

  6. LWBlogger

    Hi Doug… I actually have just read an article on this today. An interesting piece of the article suggests that the money that teams, including the Reds, are getting, may not be what the teams had originally agreed to. It seems as part of the Chapter 11 Bankrupcy filing and process, deals are being restructured. From the article:

    “… and Diamond is in Chapter 11 restructuring, trying to trade equity to its secondary creditors to relieve about $8 billion of debt, and also also seeking to restructure deals with individual teams for which its losing money.

    In fact, Diamond didn’t make its 2023 rights payments to the Reds, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Guardians, Texas Rangers and Minnesota Twins, aiming to cough up the coin after a Texas bankruptcy court reconfigured Diamond’s deals with those individual teams.”

    Please let me know if you want the link to that article source as I am hesitant to post it in comments as I know that sometimes is an issue and I don’t write here much anymore so not sure how you handle links in comments.

  7. Stags

    That is me! I stream or use an antenna. I have a DVR to record off the antenna to supplement streaming. For streaming I just have HBO and Peacock. So for the Reds I listen to 700 WLW.