Diamondbacks continuing to explore TV options for 2024

Feb 19, 2024, 7:22 PM

Corbin Carroll at the plate during a game at Chase Field...

Corbin Carroll #7 of the Arizona Diamondbacks warms up on deck during the first inning of the MLB game against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field on September 19, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Arizona Diamondbacks are still looking for a television partner to broadcast their games in 2024 after Diamond Sports Group, the parent company of Bally Sports Arizona, declared bankruptcy in March 2023.

President and CEO Derrick Hall said Monday that while there is nothing new to announce, the D-backs are still talking to Major League Baseball and would like to have a decision in place “by the end of this week” as the team’s first spring training game is on Friday.

“We are still talking to those interested, other parties where we can look at options and we have considered over-the-air,” Hall said. “We have looked at the possibility of a hybrid, if that would work.”

Hall continued and said while MLB producing the games is also on the table, the team is still mulling other options.

“We know we can go on MLB today if we decide to, and they’ve been very patient, we’ve told them we’re continuing to explore other options, and they know we have other options and offers on the table,” Hall said, “So again, we’re just trying to hammer down what it would look like if we’re on MLB, versus one of those other options, or if there’s a way to do both. I think we’ll have an announcement very soon.”

Last year, Diamond Sports Group defaulted on a $30.8 million rights payment to the D-backs. As a result, MLB had to step-in and produce the D-backs’ broadcasts starting on July 18.

If the D-backs fail to reach an agreement with an external broadcast partner, a similar arrangement to last season is likely, where local fans would be able to watch with an subscription with an in-market package for a monthly or yearly fee. For example, the San Diego Padres offer a package for $19.99 per month or $99.99 for the entire season.

Fans who aren’t located in Arizona, New Mexico or Utah would still be able to watch the D-backs with a regular subscription.

“The net important thing for a Diamondbacks fan is ‘Am I going to get to watch my favorite team on television?’ yes, you are,” managing partner Ken Kendrick said.

Hall said the D-backs have also talked to the Phoenix Suns and are looking into a future television partnership.

“I hope we can (partner with the Suns),” Hall said. “We’re starting to have more and more conversations about partnerships with the Suns and the relationships have been great. So I can envision something down the road where we can do something together too.”

After the Suns broke away from Bally Sports last year, owner Mat Ishbia opted to provide free over-the-air access to Suns games.

“The challenges on our side of the table, the economics of what the revenue streams that the television will create for us, which is not an insignificant part of our revenue,” Kendrick said. “And there are multiple options and we’re continuing to work them.”

Ishbia decided that the short-term loss of revenue from going with over-the-air broadcasts was worth it in the long run as it allowed more fans to tune-in. The Suns sent thousands of free antennas to fans across the Valley.

“The most important thing for a fan is are games going to be available on TV like they have been, and the answer is absolutely,” Kendrick said. “It’s not whether they will be, it’s what the delivery mechanism behind the scenes will be and whom it will be with. We moved within the season last year to a change, and I think if you’re a fan of the Diamondbacks it was pretty seamless. And what we end up doing this year I think will be the same for the fans.”

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