Earlier this season Bally Sports ownership Diamond Sports did not pay the Cincinnati Reds their owed money on time to continue broadcasting their baseball games on Bally Sports Ohio. The caveat there is that there was a 15-day grace period to make the payment and there would be no penalty. That payment was made with three days left before they would have lost the rights and they would have transferred back to the Cincinnati Reds to do with whatever they pleased.
The payment was not for the entire year. And now the Sports Business Journal is reporting that another payment is due to the Reds on July 15th. Several teams are due payments before the Reds are, starting with the Texas Rangers today, and then Arizona, Cleveland, and Minnesota on July 1st. If you will recall, Diamond Sports/Bally Sports opted to not pay for the rights of the San Diego Padres last month and that triggered the return of their rights to the team. Texas, Arizona, Cleveland, and Minnesota may not see a quick turn around like the Padres did if their payments aren’t made because of the potential bankruptcy proceedings. Cincinnati, like the Padres, were/are partial equity stake owners in Bally Sports, and thus are not involved in the bankruptcy proceedings.
So what does that mean for the Reds? Well, it would seem that on, or maybe even before July 15th, they will be told whether or not they will be paid or not. If the payment isn’t made it’s likely that there is a built-in grace period of 15 days on the lack of payment. Assuming that’s correct, then if the payment isn’t made then July 31st would be the day in which the Reds would regain the broadcasting rights to their games and they would no longer be on Bally Sports Ohio.
Of course if the payment is made then nothing changes. If it’s not made then it would seem clear that the Reds and Major League Baseball would follow the path that took place in San Diego. The Padres games are still on local cable and satellite providers, just on a new channel. There is also a San Diego Padres option available for locals through MLB.tv that you can purchase (not included with your MLB.tv subscription if you are “in market” – it’s a separate purchase).
The broadcasters and production crew would mostly remain in place because they are all employed by the team or are independent contracts and not employees of Bally Sports or Diamond Sports.
All of this will begin to play out one month from today. Set a reminder in your phone’s calendar, or write it on your calendar if you are still a pen and paper kind of organizer.