MLB’s Opening Day is swiftly approaching on March 30. That means fans have to get their game plan in order to watch the San Diego Padres highly anticipated 162-game campaign.
But — plans for airing Padres games could soon change. Diamond Sports Group recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Diamond Sports Group is the parent company of Bally Sports Regional Networks, which broadcasts local games across the United States, including Padres games.
With all this happening just before Opening Day, fans are concerned about whether this will impact their ability to watch games.
To help you stay in the loop, here’s everything you need to know about watching Padres games amid all the uncertainty.
How to Watch San Diego Padres on Bally Sports:
For now, plans haven’t changed. Every game is expected to air as scheduled on the Bally Sports San Diego TV channel.
While Diamond works to restructure and unload its debt, live broadcasts will continue, David Preschlack, CEO of Diamond and a former NBC Sports executive said in a statement.
“With the support of our creditors, we expect to execute a prompt and efficient reorganization and to emerge from the restructuring process as a stronger company,” Preschlack said.
How to Stream Padres Games on Bally Sports San Diego:
Without cable, the best option for catching the games is on fuboTV, which is currently offering a free 7-day trial, according to Petco Park Insider.
The only other way to stream Bally Sports San Diego is through DirectTV Stream, formerly known as AT&T Stream. Their free trial is shorter than fuboTV’s and costs more than $100 per month, with fees.
Hulu, Sling TV and YouTube TV will not have Bally Sports San Diego for 2023 with the various sides not coming to an agreement on a carriage deal. However, that could change at any time and NBC 7 will notify readers if it does.
Streaming Padres Games on the MLB App
The hope for fans is that they will eventually be able to watch hometown games on the MLB.TV app. While it sounds like the league is ready to make those available, they have not yet announced plans to end local blackouts.
Some fans change their IP with a VPN to get around that blackout so they can still watch Padres games.
The MLB.TV app is not to be confused with the MLB Ballpark App, which helps visitors navigate around the stadium.
What Happens if Bally Sports Stops Broadcasting Games?
If that happens, Major League Baseball reportedly is ready to come in for the save.
Prior to Diamond releasing a statement, the New York Post reported that the company was expected to reject the contracts of teams it is losing money on, which includes the San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Guardians. If so, per the Post, MLB intends to take over local broadcasts for the impacted teams and stream the games for free in the local markets while negotiations continue.
Perhaps the NBA and NHL would do the same, although the 2022-2023 regular season for each league is nearly over.
The NBA renewed its streaming deal with Diamond Sports in June even with the company’s looming bankruptcy, according to Sports Business Journal. Under the agreement, Bally Sports+, a direct-to-consumer streaming service launched by the company in September for fans who do not have cable packages, would continue to stream games for the 16 NBA teams carried on the networks.
Base packages for Bally Sports+ begin at around $20 per month.
The NBA’s deal with Diamond Sports includes one-year deals that run through the 2024-25 season, per SBJ, which adds that the company must meet 13 conditions annually to trigger the deal for the following 12 months. Filing for bankruptcy would be in breach of one of those conditions.
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