Today was the day that Diamond Sports Group has to make a payment to the Cincinnati Reds to maintain the broadcast rights to continue to air games on Bally Sports Ohio. Alden Gonzalez of ESPN reports that they planned to make that payment on time. Earlier this year they did not make the payment in time, but there was a 15-day grace period built in and they made the payment within that grace period to retain the rights.
While Diamond Sports Group is going through bankruptcy over the Bally Sports regional sports networks, Bally Sports Ohio is not involved in that because the Cincinnati Reds have a partial ownership stake in it. That kind of made things a bit unique for the Reds and the broadcasting rights relationship.
With the payment made, and the last payment that was not paid on time being back in April, it would seem that the current payment would take the club’s rights through the end of the 2023 baseball season. That is an assumption, of course, but it would be strange for the payment schedule to be three months apart for one payment, but shorter in time for the next one.
We will have to wait and see how things shake out in the bankruptcy courts moving forward as what happens there could alter what Diamond Sports Group does and how it handles the regional sports networks they own that aren’t involved in it – such as Bally Sports Ohio. Major League Baseball has plans in place for scenarios where the payments aren’t made and they take the broadcasting rights back – they’ve done so with the San Diego Padres, for example. That’s going to be on the back burner for Cincinnati at this time, but looking towards 2024 it may be something that has to be revisited if things continue to be dicey for Diamond Sports Group.