Videos by OutKick
Blackouts may become increasingly less common in MLB thanks to a recent court ruling.
The seeming progress all stems from the Diamond Sports Group bankruptcy earlier this year.
Diamond, which operates the Bally Sports networks, has been missing payments to multiple teams since the season started.
MLB’s contention has been that the missed payments trigger a rights reversion. Essentially, if Diamond doesn’t fulfill their obligations, the team would then take back control of their own media rights.
One team, the San Diego Padres, has already taken back control. Starting May 31st, all Padres games have been available through the league in the San Diego market.
Diamond has attempted to retain control by asking a judge to force certain teams to renegotiate their rights agreements.
But the judge ruled against them recently, saying that despite a drop in value, the contracts are not unreasonable.
Teams like the Cleveland Guardians, Minnesota Twins and Cincinnati Reds have all been affected by lower payments. As have the surprisingly competitive Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks.
MLB Teams Could Seen Enjoy Better Broadcast Distribution
The court ruling now means that Diamond is responsible for back pay to the teams that it’s missed or reduced payments to.
Given the company is in bankruptcy, there’s a strong likelihood that those teams could follow the same path as San Diego.
The deadline for Diamond to meet its obligations hasn’t been set, but MLB has already stated they intend to take over and broadcast games using MLB.tv if Diamond doesn’t pay.
MLB using its service to sell individual packages of team games is clearly the future.
The Padres are charging over $70 for access to their broadcasts in market is likely the blueprint they want to follow.
As cable loses relevance, this could be the way to avoid hemorrhaging rights money while increasing the availability of the product.
MLB wants to get it games onto the most possible devices, with the San Diego move massively increasing reach.
Now fans in Cincinnati, Dallas, Arizona, Cleveland and Minneapolis could all benefit from the same option.
Blackouts are moving ever closer to being a thing of the past. Thank God.