Braves: Diamond Sports Group responds to Comcast dropping Bally Sports

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The experience for fans ever since Diamond Sports Group bought the rights to many regional sports teams under Bally Sports has been one we’d all like to forget. One by one cable networks and streaming services are refusing to renew their contracts with Diamond Sports Group, leaving sports fans unable to watch their favorite teams.

The latest cable network to walk away from the table is Comcast Xfinity, whose contract with Diamond Sports Group ended at the beginning of the month, leaving millions of Braves fans without access to games. The irony in all of this is that Truist Park uses Comcast to broadcast games inside the stadium, which has resulted in these messages on TVs.

As David O’Brien also points out, Comcast Xfinity has a corporate office right outside the stadium, but none of that seems to matter.

On Tuesday, Diamond Sports Group released a plea to Comcast to come back to the negotiation table, which can be seen below. 

“Dear Sports Fans,

“Xfinity recently pulled the plug on our networks despite our best efforts to reach a mutually beneficial distribution deal. Their refusal to broadcast games while we continue the conversation is disappointing for many reasons, but above all because it hurts you, the fans, and the sports media industry at large. We appreciate that sports rights are confusing – and the industry is evolving in a way that is not always prioritizing the fans. This letter is an effort for us to be honest and transparent with you.

“Bally Sports isn’t just a local sports network; it brings you, the fans, closer to your favorite local teams and talent, delivering shared memories, night after night. And it’s not just the fans who are directly impacted – the teams and leagues with whom we have built relationships for decades are hurt by this as well.

“Bottom line, Xfinity’s current proposal will immediately put Bally Sports on a tier requiring you to pay more to see your favorite teams. This matter is not an attempt to ask Xfinity for more money. In fact, we are just asking them to accept market terms, similar to what Charter Spectrum, Cox Communications, DirecTV and DirecTV STREAM all did just last month.

Our goal? Reach a deal and get your local teams back on air. Sadly, Xfinity hasn’t been willing to engage in meaningful discussions, nor will they put the channels back on while we continue to work through this. We’re not giving up, though. We want to make this work with Xfinity and hope that they recognize the crucial role Bally Sports plays in serving local sports fans. The stakes are high. Millions of our customers who enjoy the games we broadcast are already being left in the dark.

“Now we’re turning to you, the fans. Raise your voices, let Xfinity know you want your teams back on the air. Tell them to do right by the fans. After all, you are the ones who pay to make it happen. Your opinion matters.

– Diamond Sports Group, owner of the Bally Sports regional networks”

It doesn’t look like Comcast is in any hurry to resolve this issue, and it’s getting to the point where Major League Baseball needs to step in. However, if we know anything about MLB, it’s that they aren’t typically the quickest when it comes to getting things fixed, even if it means fewer fans will watch their product.

As a sports fan who is constantly switching streaming services depending on which sports are in season, DirectTV Stream and FuboTV are both currently carrying Bally Sports. I’m currently using fuboTV but have used both and would probably recommend DirectTV Stream out of the two if you’re looking to make the switch.

Photo: Photographer: David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire

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