The Minnesota Twins have solidified their broadcast plans for the 2024 MLB season, opting to continue their partnership with Bally Sports North. The decision comes amidst the financial struggles of Bally’s parent company, Diamond Sports Group (DSG), which recently filed for approval in bankruptcy court. Amazon’s investment in DSG, though still pending regulatory approval, appears to have played a crucial role in rescuing the beleaguered company, potentially opening doors for future streaming services for various sports leagues.
For Twins fans in the upcoming season, the agreement means that Bally Sports North will broadcast the team’s games. However, there won’t be a direct-to-consumer streaming option available for Twins games this year. The absence of a dedicated platform for streaming Twins games has disappointed some fans who had hoped for an independent service. The popular desire for such a service has been delayed, at least for this season.
Out-of-market fans residing beyond blackout areas can still stream Twins games via MLB.TV or MLB Extra Innings. Despite the deal with Bally Sports North, the Twins anticipate a reduction in broadcast income from DSG, with reports suggesting a 15% decrease compared to the previous year. The impact on TV revenue is also expected to affect the Texas Rangers and Cleveland Guardians.
A spokesperson from DSG expressed satisfaction with the agreements reached with the Cleveland Guardians, Minnesota Twins, and Texas Rangers. The focus remains on delivering high-quality live game broadcasts on Bally Sports to dedicated fans throughout the 2024 season.
As for other Minnesota sports teams, Bally Sports North currently has a deal to broadcast Minnesota Wild, Timberwolves, and Lynx games until the conclusion of the 2023–24 seasons. These games are accessible on Bally Sports Plus, a subscription streaming service costing $20 per month. However, these agreements are set to expire at the end of the current season.
In the NBA context, if Diamond continues operations beyond this season, teams may have the option to extend their agreements for an additional year. The involvement of Amazon, following its investment in DSG, raises the possibility of a new direct-to-consumer service akin to Bally Sports Plus, potentially integrated with Amazon Prime.
However, regulatory approval is pending, and details regarding the replacement for Bally Sports Plus, including potential pricing changes, remain uncertain. Until these aspects are clarified, the future landscape of sports streaming for Minnesota fans remains in a state of anticipation and speculation.