Maybe this sordid Bally mess is nearing its end.
I doubt it because the fan always seems to get the short end of the deal. But maybe.
As you are probably aware because you’re like most Rangers fans, you cannot view Texas Rangers games on TV. You used to be able to turn on the TV and get them on your local station. But the local stations started got outbid by cable stations. Then the cable stations got outbid by RSNs, regional sports networks.
Diamond Sports owns the Bally Sports Regional Networks. Bally Sports Regional Networks owns the rights to broadcast fourteen major league teams.
In 2010, the Rangers agreed with Fox Sports Southwest on a $3 billion deal to broadcast Texas Rangers baseball for twenty years. Fox sold those rights to Diamond. Diamond declared bankruptcy in March.
It has now missed a rights payment to the Rangers, as it has with the Cleveland Guardians, the Minnesota Twins, and the Arizona Diamonbacks. So, yesterday, the Rangers informed Diamond that it has severed its ties with Bally.
Now, of course the whole thing goes to bankruptcy court. And because this is the United States, bankruptcy court is fraught with shenanigans. Diamond will claim, as it is now trying to do with the Twins, Guardians, and Diamonbacks, that because market conditions have changed, rights fees are worth far less and they should have to pay these teams far less.
In other words, we signed a bad contract, we lost our shirts, we want the courts to step in and help get us out of it.
As of now, Bally is broadcasting baseball but not paying for it, still collecting advertising revenue and rights fees from cable companies.
Apparently, according to Daniel Kaplan in The Athletic:
“The Rangers notified Diamond that if it defaulted, the team would consider the broadcast contract terminated. Diamond disputed that, but the sides agreed to a standstill agreement for a month that allowed the club to negotiate with other media providers. The parties on April 15, the day the Rangers rights fee was due, extended the standstill for another 20 days.”
Today a judge decides whether to force Diamond to pay the Rangers. On May 31, the whole thing gets aired out in bankruptcy court. There, Diamond will argue the court should agree to it paying lower rights fees to the Rangers based on new market conditions. But the Rangers argument is their rights fees would actually be worth more today than they were when they signed the deal. In other words, they would be due more money.
It seems the fate of the network that brings us Dave and CJ is in the hands of lawyers. And everyone knows how trusting those hands can be.