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Thursday newsletter time: Rangers’ broadcast partner Bally Sports reportedly headed to bankruptcy

(AP photo/Michael Ainsworth)

 

 

Considering that many fans in the Metroplex can’t watch Rangers games, the following might not be cause an outpouring of sympathy. But it might have an impact on the Rangers’ bottom line.

The owner of Bally Sports is reportedly headed toward bankruptcy.

Diamond Sports Group LLC, a subsidiary of the Sinclair Broadcast Group, operates Bally Sports. Diamond, backed by Sinclair, is losing so much money that it might be unable to make payouts on the $55 billion worth of media rights deals it holds after acquiring the Fox Regional Sports Networks in 2019.

This isn’t just an MLB problem. NBA and NHL teams, including the Mavericks and Stars, are locked into deals with Bally, too.

Bloomberg News is reporting that Diamond is pursuing an $8.6 billion restructuring and also hoping that Bally Sports +, a direct-to-consumer streaming service, will help make up for the massive losses suffered from cord-cutters ditching cable. Streaming services have been unable to negotiate a price to their liking with Diamond to carry the Bally regional networks.

Bally Sports + costs $19.99 a month, and it hasn’t gained enough traction yet.

The sports leagues have attempted to negotiate with Diamond, but The New York Post reported that last month that negotiations weren’t going well. The Post said that creditors would try to persuade a judge to have the existing rights contracts rejected if Diamond went into bankruptcy.

Sources told the Post that MLB has been working to create new contracts with potential rejected teams and to directly air games in local markets. One source said MLB believes it could launch quickly but hasn’t guaranteed how quickly.

Ultimately, the bankruptcy could lead to an entirely new way people consume sports, with streaming services like Apple TV + and Prime Video becoming a bigger player.

The bigger issue is what happens to the money teams are supposed to be getting.

Ex-Rangers pitcher cashes in

Good things do happen to good people. The proof is in the four-year, $31 million contract extension Jeffrey Springs signed with the Rays.

Springs was the Rangers’ 30th-round pick in 2015 from Appalachian State, and he made his MLB debut July 31, 2018, with the Rangers. He pitched well that season, struggled in 2019 and was traded to the Red Sox for Sam Travis. Springs was even worse in 2020, but a trade to the Rays has turned his career around.

He posted a 2.46 ERA last season in 135 1/3 innings over 33 appearances/25 starts. The left-hander doesn’t throw hard, but he has a terrific changeup and fits into the quirky way the Rays use their starters.

Springs made a start against the Rangers in 2022 at Globe Life Field and had a run-in with Nate Lowe. Springs buzzed Lowe with a high-and-tight fastball, only to see Lowe take him deep.

Lowe barked at Springs as he ran to first base.

Having known Springs previously, the guess here is the chin music wasn’t intentional. He’s a good guy with a good story, and now he has set up his family for life.

ICYMI …

Another sluggish news week on the Rangers front, and that’s OK. They will be signing players to minor-league deals in the coming days and weeks and should also be announcing the internal non-roster invites soon. They’re also still in the market for a left fielder. Coming this weekend to Rangers Today is a new podcast this weekend. The guest: Pitching prospect TK Roby, who is in town for an internal leadership summit at Globe Life Field. Also new at Rangers Today, we continue to iron out the wrinkles in the new email process. They are all getting delivered, just not all at once. Rest assured, I’ve got my best man on it. Now, here’s our latest in case you missed it.

Fan Fest details announced

Here’s the pitch

How I voted for the Hall of Fame

And how T.R. Sullivan voted

Rangers Today Baseball Podcast: Blaine Crim from Puerto Rico

Doggy video!

A couple thoughts: What a good owner and good pup. Also, good thing his jacket is brown in case the pup really didn’t enjoy the ride. Enjoy.

Jeff Wilson, jeff@rangerstoday.com

Jeff Wilson

Sports reporter for two decades. Sports fan for life. Covers the Texas Rangers. Graduate of TCU. Colorado native. Author of Purple Passion: TCU Football Legends (https://t.co/2fmXLyympx). Follow me on Twitter at @JeffWilsonTXR

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5 Comments

  1. t ball January 26, 2023

    $20 a month? Nope.

    Reply
    1. Jeff Wilson January 27, 2023

      Roger that!

      Reply
  2. Charles Hilliard January 27, 2023

    If they would go back to dish it would help them l can’t see stars,rangers, mavericks unless there on National broadcast which isn’t very often and I live in a place where I only get satellite internet and it’s horrible.

    Reply
    1. Jeff Wilson January 27, 2023

      Maybe this ends up being a good thing for the fans. That would, in turn, be good for the Rangers and MLB.

      Reply
    2. deGrom Texas Ranger February 12, 2023

      Unofficially, there are quite a few free streaming sites. Just use the Brave browser to avoid pop-ups. I know it’s not ideal, and I’d much rather be watching on MLB.com or Bally Sports, but I have to do that whenever there is a blackout. MLB66.ir used to work, but Rojadirecta has stuff and other sites have it too. Just don’t tell non-Rangers fans… shhhhh.

      Reply

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