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Tuesday, September 20, 2022

MLB, NBA and NHL may buy biggest owner of regional sports TV networks: sources

MLB, the NBA and the NHL may orchestrate a buyout of the nation’s dominant owner of regional sports TV networks, whose shaky finances pose an increasing threat to their teams, The Post has learned.

The trio of pro-sports leagues are expected to soon begin talks with Diamond Sports, which operates 21 regional Bally Sports networks that account for more than half the local broadcast markets around the country, sources close to the situation said.

A prospective deal is looming as Diamond — owned by Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group — has been hemorrhaging cash and could be headed for a possible bankruptcy filing if it doesn’t find a white knight in the coming months, the sources claimed.

Sinclair in early 2019 won an auction to buy Fox Sports Networks from 21st Century Fox for $10.6 billion, giving it exclusive rights to broadcast the games of 42 teams. These included 14 MLB teams like the St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres; 16 NBA teams including the Miami Heat; and 12 NHL teams including the Detroit Red Wings.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 20, 2022 at 08:43 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: regional sports networks, sinclair

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   1. John Reynard Posted: September 21, 2022 at 03:47 AM (#6097241)
Do we want MLB, NBA, and NHL cooperatively owning large swathes of each other's local sports contracts?

I mean, MLB is probably competitively OK here (anti-trust exemption). But, I'd think the other two's involvement is questionable at best. Or, is the NFL such a big player that the anti-trust guys will just ignore this?
   2. DL from MN Posted: September 21, 2022 at 12:41 PM (#6097305)
Do we want MLB, NBA, and NHL cooperatively owning large swathes of each other's local sports contracts?


There has to be a shift from the current cable business model to subscription based streaming for local pro sports broadcasts. It makes sense to have a joint streaming venture for the MLB, NBA & NHL. No need to duplicate the delivery technology and added value for customers who would then have a reason to subscribe year-round. It made sense for ESPN to own this when Disney bought Fox but anti-trust concerns made that impossible.
   3. Russ Posted: September 21, 2022 at 12:49 PM (#6097309)

There has to be a shift from the current cable business model to subscription based streaming for local pro sports broadcasts. It makes sense to have a joint streaming venture for the MLB, NBA & NHL. No need to duplicate the delivery technology and added value for customers who would then have a reason to subscribe year-round.


Who runs the NBA streaming? I know the NHL streaming is already run by MLBAM, like the MLB streaming... in some sense, it's obvious that the MLB and NHL should be working together and then adding the NBA would be the next step.
   4. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: September 21, 2022 at 01:29 PM (#6097317)
Can we just take a minute here and reflect on how truly awful the sociopaths who run Sinclair are, and the sooner they go under, the better off society will be?
   5. Walt Davis Posted: September 21, 2022 at 04:49 PM (#6097382)
But this would introduce some odd conflicts of interest. MLB teams selling their local broadcast rights to ... MLB. Who gets to decide if the Dodgers get $400 M per year, the owners of Tampa, Milw, etc? Or if the current Dodgers contract becomes a vast overpay because everybody's streaming, are Tampa, Milw, etc now obligated to funnel money to the Dodgers? If there are any big market teams left that don't have their own RSN, this would surely push them to develop one. Or maybe it's a big step towards full centralization of all broadcast revenues at the league level. Either way, it seems to me that this is pretty much the exact opposite of how it was supposed to work, at least in MLB.

On the other hand, this also has a MLB-Expos vibe about it. The leagues know this is a terrible investment but have dawdled so long on developing a local streaming model that they have to keep it afloat for another 5 years or so.
   6. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 21, 2022 at 04:54 PM (#6097384)
Kinda buried in this article is that MLB is in talks to launch their own streaming service for local games. So my guess is they'd just dissolve these RSNs and lean on the new all-MLB streaming service.
   7. Tom Goes to the Ballpark Posted: September 21, 2022 at 09:12 PM (#6097429)
But this would introduce some odd conflicts of interest. MLB teams selling their local broadcast rights to ... MLB. Who gets to decide if the Dodgers get $400 M per year, the owners of Tampa, Milw, etc? Or if the current Dodgers contract becomes a vast overpay because everybody's streaming, are Tampa, Milw, etc now obligated to funnel money to the Dodgers? If there are any big market teams left that don't have their own RSN, this would surely push them to develop one. Or maybe it's a big step towards full centralization of all broadcast revenues at the league level. Either way, it seems to me that this is pretty much the exact opposite of how it was supposed to work, at least in MLB.
The Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs, and Mets aren’t a part of this. The only large market team included is the Angels. This is almost all of the small market teams.
   8. Dr. Pooks Posted: September 21, 2022 at 09:59 PM (#6097436)
But this would introduce some odd conflicts of interest. MLB teams selling their local broadcast rights to ... MLB. Who gets to decide if the Dodgers get $400 M per year, the owners of Tampa, Milw, etc?


The Blue Jays are owned by Rogers Corporation, who also owns and broadcasts their TV, radio and local streaming rights on their own platforms.

AFAIK, Rogers pays the Jays for broadcast rights set by some sort of annual metric determined by MLB.

I feel like it was somewhere around 70 million (CDN or US dollars?) a year a few years ago, but I'm iffy on my memory and source.
   9. Russ Posted: September 22, 2022 at 03:23 PM (#6097536)
Kinda buried in this article is that MLB is in talks to launch their own streaming service for local games. So my guess is they'd just dissolve these RSNs and lean on the new all-MLB streaming service.


Exactly. It will be basically pay $XXX_i per season (or $XX_i per month) to stream your local team and then add $YY per month to get there rest, where $XXX_i$ and $XX_i$ potentially changes from market to market. Or maybe you get a la carte service where you can pick all the teams or packages of choose 5. Taking back their own rights allows them to do whatever they want and keep all the ad income to themselves. And they broadcast whatever they want free of charge on the app as free games (even locally) to try to draw fans in.

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