MLB to Stream 4 Teams' Games for Free This Season

MLB plans to help four teams this season. According to the New York Post, the league is planning to broadcast at least four teams from a regional sports network provider so that fans won't miss the action. Diamond Sports owns the home broadcast rights to 14 teams, but the New York Post learned that the network is expected to file for bankruptcy on March 17. Diamond, which operates under the Bally's name, is expected to use the bankruptcy proceedings to reject the contracts of four teams — the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians, San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to have the league take over the local broadcasts of the money-losing teams and stream them for free in their respective local markets as he works with cable companies for lower contracts. The league is still finalizing plans for how fans in blacked-out markets will be able to watch free games. As of now, fans can pay to watch out-of-market games through the MLB.TV app. 

If MLB reaches a deal with cable providers, it will still offer over-the-top service for $15 a month. MLB attempted to acquire the rights to all 14 games that Diamond broadcasts, but the company said no. Diamond was formed after Sinclair Broadcast Group paid $10.6 billion for the Fox Sports Networks regional channels in a buyout in 2019. This news comes shortly after Warner Bros. Discovery announced it was cutting its rights payments to the Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies, whose games air through AT&T SportsNet. 

With MLB planning to broadcast games from the Reds, Guardians, Padres and Diamondbacks, that means Bally Sports Arizona, Bally Sports Great Lakes, Bally Sports Ohio, and Bally Sports San Diego will no longer offer MLB games. Diamond also owns the local rights to 16 NBA franchises and 12 NHL teams. The company plans to broadcast NBA and NHL games until the end of the season and through the first round of the playoffs. The 2023 MLB season will begin on March 30.