Major League Baseball will begin producing and distributing San Diego Padres games on Wednesday after Diamond Sports Group, which operates the Bally Sports regional networks, skipped a rights fee payment. Diamond missed the payment two weeks ago and Tuesday is the final day of a two-week grace period.
The team's media rights revert back to the Padres on Wednesday. Here's more from the league's press release:
As a result of the new arrangement, Padres fans can now obtain a new direct-to-consumer streaming subscription for $19.99 per month or $74.99 for the rest of the season by registering at MLB.TV. This offer is only for Padres fans in the Club's Home Television Territory and is a separate service than the MLB.TV out of market package. 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. Fans can also find more information about the availability of Padres games at Padres.com/tunein.
To make the transition as convenient as possible for fans, Padres games played through Sunday, June 4th will be available for free with MLB login at MLB.com, Padres.com and in the MLB apps on mobile and connected devices.
MLB will stream Padres games on MLB.tv, MLB.com, and Padres.com for free through the end of the weekend, and the league already has broadcast deals in place with local cable providers:
MLB to produce and distribute @Padres games starting on May 31. Fans in-market can watch on DirecTV, Spectrum, Cox, Fubo and @MLBTV. Padres games will be streamed free on https://t.co/Z3s2EpgF39 and https://t.co/qiGCQEYFvE through June 4: https://t.co/JKWNEvSeJO pic.twitter.com/MjLbwvkpyq— MLB (@MLB) May 31, 2023
Diamond filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March and has been negotiating with MLB with its teams over streaming rights. Those talks have not progressed, and Diamond is now looking to shed television contracts that are not profitable. The Padres and Diamond were in the middle of a 20-year contract worth $1.2 billion through 2032.
"While DSG has significant liquidity and have been making rights payments to teams, the economics of the Padres' contract were not aligned with market realities," Diamond told the Sports Business Journal in a statement. "MLB has forced our hand by its continued refusal to negotiate direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming rights for all teams in our portfolio despite our proposal to pay every team in full in exchange for those rights. We are continuing to broadcast games for teams under our contracts."
The Padres were one of 14 MLB teams broadcast on Bally Sports. The other 13: Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, and Texas Rangers. Those teams have not yet been impacted.