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.

25 Responses

  1. Chris

    I’ll just continue bootlegging the games if I need to. I hate doing that, but that’s the current option because MLB deems Nashville to be in the Cincy market, yet continues to show other programming over the Reds games.

    • Dick Paterson

      How do you bootleg? I am based in Milford, PA, 332 miles from Pittsburg, but those games are blacked out. No Pittsburg games are broadcast here. And it doesn’t stop there. So I listen.

      • Mark Moore

        Use a VPN. If you have a security program like Norton, it’s likely included. Use a region like Canada, Mexico, or the UK and you should be able to see every game.

    • Luke J

      Do you use the Bally App? I live in an area where I get 3 Bally’s channels with my cable package (Cinci, Detroit, and Cleveland). However, the Cincinnati channel does not broadcast the Reds games in my area. It says in the guide that the Reds game is on, but when I go to that channel, it’s something else. But when I use the Bally’s App on my smart tv or computer or phone, I can watch the Reds games. I don’t log into the Bally’s App, I simply connect TV provider. Once I log into my TV provider, it assigns me to the region that includes the 3 Bally’s channels I get. This lets me choose any programming on those 3 channels, even if it isn’t broadcast in my area through the cable.

  2. Randy in Chatt

    Any idea what the Padres fans pay per month for their Mlb.tv access to give us in market Reds fans an idea what we might have to pay if it goes to that level?

    This all sucks. We get, maybe 100-130 Reds games here in Chattanooga on Comcast with many games available to watch via the Bally app on the smart TV as well.

    • Mark Moore

      If MLB.tv holds true, their Father’s Day 50% off special should be available now.

      • Randy in Chatt

        I don’t want to spend a dime until I hear how this all shakes out. I am still curious what Padres fans pay just in case it goes to that level.

  3. Mark Moore

    Really time to move beyond this crap for entertainment content. There is money to be made if all the blackout stuff doesn’t exist anymore. And having a local cable provider is moving down the ladder in terms of preferred options anyway.

    • Melvin

      How bout getting rid of all the crap and make it easy for fans to watch baseball again thus creating new fans as well. The game itself is in trouble with the greedy powers that be in baseball.

      • Harold

        Everyone will want to see the REDS because we are America’s TEAM!!!!!

      • Melvin

        Playing in Great American Ball Park. 😀

      • B-town Fan

        I can’t say it any better. Agree 100%

      • B-town Fan

        Your first sentence says it all,

      • TR

        The beginning of the Reds as America’s Team is here, at least for a while. Play the young guys.

      • Old Big Ed

        That is actually what the Commissioner’s office and many teams would prefer.

        However, the non-Bally regional sports networks (RSNs) have entered into huge TV deals with most of the major market teams (Boston, Mets, Yankees, Dodgers, and several other teams), and they did so specifically to get the exclusive right to distribute those teams’ games in those local markets. The RSNs would not have paid those amounts, if MLB could compete with them by streaming those games on its own platform. MLB would get sued to smithereens if it doesn’t honor those exclusive agreements, and it would lose.

        “Getting rid of the crap” would therefore cost billions, mostly to the detriment of the big-market teams. If history has taught us anything, it is (1) that you can kill anyone, and (2) that baseball structures its business to favor big-market teams.

        Those contracts, though, expire sooner or later. Plus, and more to the point now, cord cutting has made the contracts much less valuable to the regional sports networks, some of which are owned in total or in part by the teams themselves. This will eventually work out the way you suggest, but it can’t happen overnight.

      • Melvin

        TR – just need some navy blue trim instead of black in our home uniforms and we’re all set. ?

    • Chris

      I live in Indy and I can’t pay MLB or Ballys for the right to watch the game. I also was blacked out from the game on ESPN plus, which I pay for. Last year MLB TV revoked the membership I had in my wife’s name, for suspicious account activity(vpn). At this point I’m at a loss on how to watch them. I hope to god they don’t pay the Reds on time.

      • Garrett

        From Indy as well and feel ya 100%. For the first couple of months I subscribed to Fubo because they’re the only cable streaming service to carry RSNs. It was like $90 a month but ended it because it’s just not a very user friendly app and it’s hard to share with someone outside your house. Please don’t pay the Reds Bally!

  4. SlippinJimmy

    I know it’s completely different in almost every conceivable way, but Formula 1 manages to have zero ads during races. Zero ads over 23(ish)
    ~90m races.

    In 162(ish) ~150m MLB games, we get not only regular commercial breaks, but “time for a brief message from Miami Valley Gaming,” etc. , and more commercials for every pitching change.

    My point is, (again this is all way beyond me) MLB is getting plenty of revenue per game to provide said games without any additional consumer cost. (Make them readily available with ads for everyone)

    OR, if a consumer wishes not to see ads, THEN let them pay per month or year or whatever to watch ad free baseball. WHICHEVER GAMES THEY WANT TO WATCH!

    Blackout practices seem to me as outdated as umps behind the plate. Replacements are way overdue.

  5. AMDG

    If you are a Cincinnati Bengals fan, during the NFL season you can watch your team ‘in market’ for free on television (about 90% of the time).

    If you are a Cincinnati Reds fans, during the MLB season you can NOT watch your team ‘in market’ for free on television.

    MLB makes it difficult for many of their fans to access their product. And to think, MLB can’t seem to figure out why they have been slowly losing fans to the other sports…

  6. SlippinJimmy

    It’s as if MLB has all their soup recipes stashed away in an old armoire someplace. People want to eat their soup, but if they want to order some, they have to order precisely as MLB demands, or else…


  7. AMDG

    Attendance at MLB games is waning, and viewership is not keeping pace with NFL and NBA. Sadly, a lot of that is self-inflicted.

    Because of this, I feel the MLB needs to switch from their “maximize profit” model to a more drastic “survival mode” marketing strategy.

    Their current model involves making their product difficult to access and squeezing every last dime out of a dwindling fan base – moves which only accelerate their decline.

    MLB needs to get their product in front of as many people as possible if they want to survive. You can’t keep existing fans and attract new ones if they can’t get to your product.

    To do this, I’d recommend the following…

    At the stadium:
    * Offer significantly lower ticket price promotions/dates. A working-class family with kids (your future fans) can’t routinely shell out $200 to take the family out to the ball game.
    * Offer more easily accessible ‘meet & greet’ promotions for kids to meet players before/after/outside the game and get excited to watch more games.

    On the Screen:
    * Eliminate blackout rules for ALL viewers. Local blackouts don’t drive more local fans to the stadiums, they just prevent fans from following your product.
    * Place all teams with a RSN into one MLB umbrella. This allows fans to easily access all of their team’s games under 1 subscription (either via mlb.tv and/or their cable/satellite package).
    * As large market tv contracts expires, add those teams into this same MLB umbrella.
    * Offer local ‘over the air’ games in local markets occasionally, so fans w/o a paid subscription can watch games (to get as many eyes on your product as possible).
    * Get more of these ‘over the air’ games broadcast – follow the NFL’s model of getting your product on television as frequently as possible. Don’t kill yourself via pay per view only access.

    This is all ‘off the cuff’. Feel free to make your own recommendations…

    • Melvin

      “Because of this, I feel the MLB needs to switch from their “maximize profit” model to a more drastic “survival mode” marketing strategy.”

      Good point.