Bally Sports channels no longer available to Comcast customers

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Bally Sports channels, provided by Comcast, were taken off the air at the beginning of May due to a contractual disagreement between Comcast and Diamond Sports Group, the operator for Bally’s parent company. This dispute has left Major League Baseball fans across the nation unable to watch their local teams.

Although Diamond Sports Group initially agreed to a six-month contract extension with Comcast last fall, they were unable to reach a new long-term agreement by the expiration date, prompting Comcast to remove the Bally Sports channels from their lineup.

Diamond Sports Group has successfully secured multiyear deals with Charter and DirecTV, but negotiations with Comcast were crucial for the company’s financial recovery from bankruptcy. Failures in reaching an agreement with Comcast could impact Diamond’s recovery process.

Diamond Sports Group, which filed for bankruptcy restructuring in March 2023, operates 18 networks, several of which were distributed by Comcast under the Xfinity brand. The group holds broadcast rights for 12 MLB teams, including the Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, Cleveland Guardians, Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays, and Milwaukee Brewers.

Comcast’s action affects markets differently, with Southern California baseball fans experiencing lesser impact compared to those in the Southeast. Diamond Sports Group retains streaming rights for specific teams, like the Marlins, Rays, Royals, and Tigers, offering fans of these teams alternate viewing options.

MLB cannot remove blackout restrictions for these teams through MLB.TV due to contractual obligations with Diamond Sports Group. The league only lifted blackouts for the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks when their deals with Diamond fell through.

The impact on NBA and NHL broadcasts is currently minimal, as both leagues are in the postseason with national games being aired.

A representative from Diamond Sports Group expressed disappointment over Comcast’s decision and reiterated the company’s commitment to finding a resolution. Comcast’s move to place Bally Sports channels on a higher-priced tier posed a significant obstacle to reaching an agreement.

In response, a Comcast statement indicated the company’s willingness to continue broadcasting Diamond’s networks but cited the lack of agreement from Diamond’s end as the reason for discontinuation.

Diamond Sports Group remains open to negotiations to restore the channels for Comcast customers.

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