Recently a lot has changed in the world of Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) as AT&T SportsNets announced plans to shut down and Bally Sports has declared bankruptcy.
Originally it was reported that Warner Bros. Discovery, the parent company behind AT&T SportsNet RSNs wanted to shut them all down in early April 2023. Now according to a report from the Sports Business Journal, a deal may be in place with MLB to keep the networks running through the 2023 MLB season.
This deal will have AT&T SportsNets continuing to pay rights fees to the MLB. At the end of the 2023 MLB season Warner Bros. Discovery would end its partnership with the MLB and likely shut down its AT&T SportsNets RSNs.
There are reports that AT&T SportsNet Houston could be taken over by the Astros and Rockets but the other RSNs owned by Warner Bros. Discovery will reportedly shut down.
If MLB is unable to make a deal with Warner Bros. Discovery, it has been reported that they have a backup plan in place to ensure that local fans will be able to watch the games for free online. The hope, though, is to find partners both for streaming and traditional cable TV providers to replace any RSN that shut down.
MLB has been clear that their hope is that AT&T SportsNets and others will continue to air MLB games keeping the very profitable payments coming from the RSNs. If that is unable to happen, there are backup plans in place.