Padres Pull Plug On Bally Sports San Diego Pact


On March 14, Diamond Sports Group, the Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned regional sports network enterprise that acquired what are known as Bally Sports channels through a licensing agreement with that company, began voluntary Chapter 11 proceedings to “strengthen its balance sheet.”

As part of that plan, the final San Diego Padres game to air on Bally Sports San Diego was telecast on Tuesday night, with the team announcing a dissolution of a binding rights agreement between the Major League Baseball club and the RSN.

At 9:30pm Pacific on Tuesday (5/30), the Padres made it official by tweeting that Major League Baseball will take over production and distribution of all local Padres games starting Wednesday (5/31). “The new arrangement gives fans the option to now watch on TV or stream digitally without local blackouts (subject to national exclusivity),” the team shared.

How will it work? “San Diegans can now watch Padres games in-market both live and on demand through a new MLB.TV Single Team Padres subscription,” the team announced.

Additionally, Padres games remain available locally on TV for 2023 on DirecTV (now Channel 694-3), AT&T U-Verse (now Channel 781), and dominant regional MVPDs Spectrum (now Channel 305) and Cox (Yurview Channel 4).

Will those who already have MLB TV have to pay extra to receive in-market Padres games? “Yes,” the team said in response to a query from one fan on Twitter. “Only users that have specifically purchased the 2023 Single Team Padres Package subscription will be able to stream Padres games in the San Diego area.”

For those watching Padres games on the Bally Sports App, that will no longer be available, the Padres shared — making it clear that its relationship with the Diamond Sports Group RSN is over. “Please work with your cable or satellite provider for more information about streaming,” the Padres said on Twitter.

The suggested cost? It is $19.99 per month, with a seven-day trial. However, Padres games are available to stream for free through Sunday, June 4.

Why did MLB assume control of the Padres broadcasts from Bally Sports San Diego? The team explains it is due to “Bally Sports San Diego failing to perform under its contract with the Padres.”

Specifically, Diamond Sports Group did not make its required rights payment to the Padres and the grace period for making the payment passed. This resulted in DSG and Bally Sports San Diego losing the rights to the team’s telecasts.

The shift from Bally Sports San Diego was hardly a sudden shift for the baseball club.

“We have been preparing for this groundbreaking moment,” Padres Chief Executive Officer Erik Greupner said in a statement released to the San Diego Union-Tribune. “The Padres are excited to be the first team to partner with Major League Baseball to offer a direct-to-consumer streaming option through MLB.TV without blackouts while preserving our in-market distribution through cable and satellite television providers. Our fans will now have unprecedented access to Padres games through both digital and traditional platforms throughout San Diego and beyond.”

Is there a chance that Padres baseball could be made available on Bally Sports San Diego later this season? No. “These changes will remain in place for the foreseeable future,” the Padres confirmed. Furthermore, the 2024 season is expected to see no changes to “existing providers,” meaning the $19.99 monthly subscription to MLB TV will remain.

The Padres primary TV broadcasters – Don Orsillo, Mark Grant and Bob Scanlan – will continue to serve in their existing roles.

According to the New York Post, DSG was paying $20 million per year to carry Padres games. In a statement provided by DSG to the Union-Tribune, the Sinclair-owned organization said, “While DSG has significant liquidity and has been making rights payments to teams, the economics of the Padres’ contract were not aligned with market realities. MLB has forced our hand by its continued refusal to negotiate direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming rights for all teams in our portfolio despite our proposal to pay every team in full in exchange for those rights. We are continuing to broadcast games for teams under our contracts.”


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