Major League Baseball will take over broadcasts of San Diego Padres games beginning Wednesday after Diamond Sports missed a rights fees payments to the regional sports network’s parent company and let the grace period expire.
Diamond Sports, which owns 19 networks under the Bally Sports banner, said in a statement that it decided “not to provide additional funding to the San Diego RSN that would enable it to make the rights payment to the San Diego Padres during the grace period and will no longer be broadcasting Padres games after Tuesday.”
How to Watch San Diego Padres Games
Through Sunday, June 4, MLB will air Padres games for free with an MLB login at MLB.com, Padres.com and in the MLB apps.
Padres games will be available for MLB.TV subscribers, and will be broadcasted on the following cable channels:
- Cox – channel 4
- AT&T U-verse – channel 781
- DirecTV – channel 694-3
- Spectrum – channel 305
MLB.TV allows fans to stream the games online and on apps like Roku, Samsung TV and Amazon Fire TV. A annual subscription for a single team is typically $119 but Padres fans can secure the deal for $74.99, or $19.99/month, for the rest of the 2023 season. A 7-day free trial is also available. Learn more here.
“By offering a direct-to-consumer streaming option on MLB.TV in the Club’s territory for the first time, MLB is able to lift the blackout for Padres games previously distributed on Bally Sports San Diego,” MLB said in a news release.
Padres games are also available to stream with a Fubo subscription.
MLB and the Padres
The Padres become the first team that MLB will take over production of its broadcasts. MLB set up a local media department during the offseason to prepare for a bankruptcy filing by Diamond Sports, which took place in March.
Announcers are not expected to change since they are employed by the team.
“We have been preparing for this groundbreaking moment,” Padres CEO Erik Greupner said in a press release. “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 traditional 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.”
Why did this happen?
The Padres signed a 20-year, $1.2 billion contract with Fox Sports Networks in 2012. Diamond Sports Group and Sinclair Broadcast Group bought the regional sports networks from The Walt Disney Co. for nearly $10 billion in 2019. Disney was required by the Department of Justice to sell the networks for its acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets to be approved.
Diamond Sports is in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the Southern District of Texas. Diamond said in a financial filing last fall it had debt of $8.67 billion.
Diamond cited the amount of rights payments to the Padres and small market area compared to other regional networks for why it was backing out.
Diamond owned 80% of Bally Sports San Diego with the Padres having the other 20%. It was one of six Diamond regional networks where MLB teams are minority owners. The others are the Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals.
With the Padres off Bally Sports, Diamond has the rights to 40 professional teams — 13 baseball, 15 NBA and 12 NHL.
A hearing will be held on Wednesday whether Diamond can reduce its rights fees payments to the Cleveland Guardians, Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks.
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