Twins issue statement in wake of Comcast, Bally Sports debacle

There are only two ways to watch Twins game as a result of the Comcast fallout.
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The Minnesota Twins have won nine consecutive games and are quickly becoming must-see TV, which is going to be a problem for fans who have Comcast/Xfinity.

On Wednesday, fans hoping to catch the Twins or any of their other favorite teams on Bally Sports North were met with a static screen alerting viewers to the situation: "Bally Sports is no longer available," a bold headline reads.

"The owner of Bally Sports is in bankruptcy proceedings, and we have offered them multiple options to continue carrying their networks.," a statement from Comcast continues. "They have declined each one, and we no longer have the rights to continue carrying their content."

While Comcast says subscribers will receive prorated monthly credits – $8 to $10 per month – for the loss of Bally Sports, the Minnesota Twins are saying it's an unfortunate situation that they have no control over.

“The Twins are disappointed by this massive disruption for our fans who simply want to watch our games,” a statement from the Twins reads. “This situation is a business negotiation between Comcast and [Bally]. The Twins have no role or voice in this matter. We are hopeful the two parties are able to come to an agreement as soon as possible.”

The team's statement has been met with accusations of following the money rather than setting the Twins and fans up with a broadcast partner that could ensure games are televised for the majority in 2024.

"While technically true," Aaron Gleeman of The Athletic began in his response to the Twins' statement, "it's only an issue because the Twins chose more money over more availability by returning to Bally."

John Bonnes, who operates Twins Daily and co-hosts the "Gleeman and the Geek" podcast, responded to the statement by saying the Twins "followed the money, agreeing to a TV contract with Diamond Sports that requires them to NOT allow their fans any in-market streaming options."

Some fans had clamored for the Twins to launch a direct-to-consumer channel through Major League Baseball, a route the Arizona Diamondbacks opted to take at a cost of $19.99-a-month, but the Twins instead opted to re-sign with Diamond Sports Group.

Bonnes added that the Twins "then pocketed that money." It hasn't been divulged how much Diamond Sport Group paid the Twins to partner with Bally Sports this season, but it is believed to be on the order of tens of millions of dollars.

Failure to find a TV partner until just prior to the start of the season led the Twins to a decision to slash payroll by about $30 million, leaving fans disappointed in offseason spending in free agency.

There are no only two options for Bally Sports North in Minnesota: streaming via FUBO TV or subscribing to DirecTV, either via satellite or the DirecTV STREAM service.

It's not just Comcast/Xfinity customers feeling the pain. The same thing is happening to Midco subscribers in Minnesota.

Related: Where to eat, drink before Twins games in Minneapolis

The Twins and Diamond Sports Group agreed to a one-year extension of a contract that expired following the 2023 season, which saw the two sides battle in bankruptcy court in Houston, TX.

“It’s disappointing that Comcast rejected a proposed extension that would have kept our channels on the air and that Comcast indicated that it intends to pull the signals, preventing fans from watching their favorite local teams,” a statement from Diamond Sports Group says.

“Comcast has refused to engage in substantive discussions despite Diamond offering terms similar to those reached with much larger distributors of ours. We are a fans-first company and will continue to seek an agreement with Comcast to restore broadcasts, and at this critical juncture for Diamond, we hope that Comcast will recognize the important and mutually beneficial role Diamond and RSNs play in the media ecosystem. In the meantime, fans in Comcast regions can access our networks through subscriptions to Fubo, DirecTV or DirecTV STREAM or through our direct-to-consumer offering, Bally Sports+ for the teams for which Diamond retains DTC rights.”

Did the Twins sign the deal with Diamond Sports Group knowing that Comcast's agreement to carry Bally Sports ended May 1?

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Joe Nelson