Over the last few weeks, 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.
Now MLB has been in talks with multiple cable networks and YouTube to find ways to air MLB games in the market both on a traditional cable TV provider and streaming online, according to a report from the Sports Business Journal.
It seems that MLB is hoping that instead of offering free streaming through MLB.TV app they will be able to get some cash from Google’s YouTube by selling streaming rights to YouTube.
This all comes as it is being reported that Bally Sports’ parent company Diamon Sports, may fail to make a required rights payment to the San Diego Padres, resulting in rights to Padres games TV rights reverting back to the MLB as soon as next week. At issue here is the fact that Bally Sports wants rights to stream Padres games in market, something the Padres have been unwilling to do, at least at the price Bally Sports is offering.
MLB is being proactive right to preparing to stream games for Padres fans and any other MLB team that may lose its RSN in the weeks and months to come.
Warner Bros. Discovery has already announced that by the end of this month, it wants MLB teams to take back rights to its games. Warner Bros. Discovery did tell MLB teams that they can keep the AT&T SportsNets production equipment in an effort to help make the transition as smooth as possible.
If MLB is unable to find new partners in YouTube or some other company, they say 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 Bally Sports and others will continue to air MLB games keeping the very profitable payments coming from Bally Sports. If that is unable to happen there are backup plans in place.