The Diamond Sports Group, which is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, acquired the rights to more than 20 regional sports networks, including the Los Angeles Angels broadcasts, from Disney in August 2019 for nearly $10 billion, but talks of bankruptcy have Major League Baseball formulating plans if they need to take over.
Sinclair broadcasts their games through Bally Sports, which currently holds exclusive local rights to 42 pro sports teams including the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers.
It was reported in late January that Diamond was considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy due to a growing $8.6-billion debt that could require restructuring.
Growing concerns with operations moving forward have MLB preparing for fallback options as the 2023 regular season approaches, via Ronald Blum of AP News:
About $1 billion of Major League Baseball’s revenue is at risk if a cable television company fails to make payments for local broadcasting rights to 14 teams, and the sport is preparing to take over telecasts.
“I think you should assume that if Diamond doesn’t broadcast, we’ll be in a position to step in,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after an owners’ meeting. “Our goal would be to make games available not only within the traditional cable bundle but on the digital side, as well.”
Manfred and MLB have recently broached the topic of regional blackouts, citing how they’re working toward bringing the game to as many fans as possible. But an issue such as Bally Sports possibly going under presents a large problem for the 14 teams under their broadcast umbrella:
“What we do is largely dependent on how Diamond and the creditors play their cards, what they decide to do,” Manfred said. “Our No. 1 goal in terms of preparations is that if for some reason Diamond isn’t broadcasting, that we want to be in a position to make sure our fans are going to get their games.”
The Angels recently made changes to their broadcast team and with the uncertainty of Bally Sports, there shouldn’t be any expected moves with MLB likely to keep the core pieces in place if they do need to have a large hand in day-to-day operations.
Wayne Randazzo became new play-by-play voice for Angels
Patrick O’Neal and Matt Vasgersian split duties as play-by-by announcers alongside color commentator Mark Gubicza, but now Wayne Randazzo is set to take over play-by-play duties.
Vasgersian made his debut during the 2021 season but has called games remotely from his home in New Jersey due to his commitment to MLB Network. O’Neal replaced Rich Waltz, who wasn’t brought back for the 2022 campaign.
Randazzo will also continue to call games for Apple TV+.
Make sure to follow Angels Nation on Twitter for all the latest news and updates surrounding the Halos!