Recently we learned that AT&T SportsNETs will shutdown by the end of the month, and Bally Sports could be in bankruptcy any week now. This has left teams scrambling for options as their TV partners may soon vanish just before the start of the 2023 MLB season.
Now the MLB has added three executives to its local media departments as it prepares to take over local broadcasts for 17 teams. These executives, Kendall Burgess, Doug Johnson, and Greg Pannell, all have experience working as executives at RSNs.
“These new hires are an important step in our preparation to address the changing landscape of MLB game distribution in light of the increasing challenges and pressure facing regional sports networks,” MLB chief revenue officer Noah Garden said in a statement.
The MLB is still hoping to find a partner to broadcast its games on traditional TV services but is also preparing for the reality that it may not happen this year. So the MLB is creating plans to offer streaming only versions of in-market games, likely through its MLB.TV service.
The MLB has been clear that no matter what happens that it wants to offer in-market streaming. The question now is will they also have the option to offer games aired on a traditional service, as sources say several major companies have already said they are not interested.
Earlier today, a Scripps executive said that it is possible that Bally Sports may also stop production soon. Bally Sports and AT&T SportsNETs going under would leave 17 MLB teams without a TV partner.