Bally Sports Dropping Arizona Network the Best Case Scenario for the Diamondbacks

The Aizona Diamondbacks begin the year hungry for more than an NL Championship

After it was announced on Thursday that the MLB would be responsible for the distribution of all Arizona Diamondbacks games in the 2024 season, following a National League Championship campaign paired with an appearance in the 2023 World Series, the Diamondbacks are the winners of the deal with MLB.tv.

AVOIDANCE OF FURTHER NEGATIVE PUBLICITY

After the news broke that Bally Sports had been having issues with bankruptcy in some markets, it became a hot topic regarding what was talked about more often than not, dating back to the start of last Spring Training. The Diamondbacks were carried on Bally for the first few months of the 2023 season, but the agreement began to make haste as the Diamondbacks had not been paid by Bally Sports on multiple occasions.

The club and Diamond Sports, the parent company of Bally Sports, began to have multiple discussions regarding the future and even had a date set for a bankruptcy hearing that was pushed back due to “positive discussions towards a solution” per Theo Mackie of the Arizona Republic. Circa June 2023, the two sides agreed to part ways and the MLB became the sole distributor of Diamondbacks games, starting with their June 18th series opener with the Atlanta Braves.

Bally Sports stopped the broadcasts of other local teams in their respective off-seasons, as the Arizona Coyotes signed on with Scripps Sports and the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury switched to the local network, Arizona’s Family.

CEMENTED HOME WITH NO FEAR OF ISSUES FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE

With the MLB taking over broadcasts of the Diamondbacks non-nationally televised baseball games, comes the ability to focus on the baseball being played on the field, by a team still with something to prove.

FAMILIAR FACES RETAIN EMPLOYMENT

The broadcast team remains the same on the television side with Steve Berthiaume as the team’s play-by-play broadcaster and Bob Brenly, Luis Gonzalez, and Tom Candiotti slotting in as analysts throughout the season. The pre and post-game families stay the same as well. Brandon Webb, Todd Walsh, and Jody Jackson all continue to be a part of the team’s ongoing growth.

Now, why is this a good thing? Great question…

With coverage continuation by the people who have the experience on the Diamondbacks everyday broadcasts, an allowance for more in-depth coverage and knowledge to shine through in providing more personality to the broadcasts.

THE SINGLE DOWNSIDE

Now, we all know that with positives, as is in life, there are negatives as well, and there’s ONE glaring negative that can easily be resolved with this deal, as was resolved with the Coyotes deal with Scripps – it’s streaming only. It took the Coyotes 3/4 of the season to figure it out with a streaming deal that allowed fans to watch with the same ease on the go that was present with their previous hosts, but with the MLB having sole possession of the entirety of the league’s fans being able to stream out of market games via MLB.tv, the Diamondbacks were able to join that team, and according to President, CEO and general partner of the Diamondbacks, Derrick Hall, “MLB Media stepped in last year when we needed them to and ensured a seamless transition for all viewers.”

So, where’s the downside? The games are streamable in and out of the market, the team has broadcasts on air that will still allow their fans to be reached worldwide and the MLB.tv deal is as solid as a rock…

The added stream ability of the Coyotes allows for the team to stretch far and wide regarding growth and credibility, but having a host network on TV allows for the local fans not wanting to pay for the streaming service, to watch their favorite team at any sports bar, on any cable provider, or just cycling through TV channels and the game happens to catch the eye of someone who hadn’t previously been devoted to paying attention to the Coyotes.

You’ll notice, that there has been no mentioned television deal for the Diamondbacks, and the only option that appears present is via MLB.tv. Still, it’s almost guaranteed that a deal will come down the pipeline to have games televised, and allow for the club to reach its local fans that shell out monthly for cable services that are reliable for the long haul.

A LOOK AT WHAT’S TO COME

Spring Training began last week, and it’s only a matter of time until baseball’s regular season begins, when it does, it’s going to be sweet to have baseball (that matters) back. The Diamondbacks season leads off on March 28th with a seven-game homestand, three against the Colorado Rockies and three against the slugging New York Yankees.

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