December 19: Evan Drellich of the Athletic reports that Diamond has streaming rights for five of the MLB teams whose broadcasting deals it covers: Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, Milwaukee and Tampa Bay. Even if an agreement between Amazon and Diamond is reached with regards to streaming, they would need to negotiate additional deals with MLB if they want to stream games for any of the other six clubs.
December 18: One of MLB’s bigger off-field stories of the past year has been the bankruptcy of Diamond Sports Group. The conglomerate’s struggles to meet its broadcasting deals has left teams contracted with Diamond — which operates the Bally Sports regional networks — in uncertain positions about the revenues they can expect from their local television contracts. That has been reflected in a few clubs (e.g. Padres, Rangers, Twins) cutting or plateauing spending.
As Diamond’s bankruptcy process continues, Lauren Thomas and Joe Flint of the Wall Street Journal report that the corporation is engaged with Amazon about a potential multi-year streaming agreement. The discussions, which are not complete and would need to be approved by the bankruptcy court even if Diamond and Amazon reach an agreement, would see Amazon invest in Diamond with a goal of eventually acquiring streaming rights for teams on those broadcasts. Diamond would continue to operate its cable networks.
There has been a general expectation that Diamond’s reorganization will see the business abandon all of its broadcasting deals with MLB after the 2024 season. Evan Drellich of the Athletic wrote last week that Diamond and MLB were nearing agreement on a deal that would at least provide clarity on how which of its 11 contracts* it would honor for the ’24 campaign. The Athletic reported last month that the company was considering dropping its contracts with the Rangers and Guardians before next season.
Even if Diamond meets most or all of its obligations for next season, those clubs won’t have clarity on how things will play out in 2025 and beyond. The potential for Amazon to support the company in exchange for streaming opportunities offers some optimism, but it remains very early in that process.
* The Angels, Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, Guardians, Marlins, Rangers, Rays, Reds, Royals and Tigers have existing contracts with Diamond. The company abandoned deals with the Padres and Diamondbacks during the 2023 season, while its contract with the Twins expired at the end of the year.