At the end of February, Warner Bros. Discovery Inc., the parent company for AT&T Sportnet, announced the plan for the company to suspend it’s regional sports network businesses and transfer the ownership by March 31st. The Rockies and their broadcast are among three MLB teams that are directly impacted by this decision for broadcasting games once the season starts next week. With the uncertainty with the Rockies broadcast looming as Opening Day creeps nearer, let’s break down what this means for the team and where you can watch the games once the season does start.
Warner Bros. Discovery Looks to Get Out of Regional Sports TV Business. Sends letter to teams saying Chapter 7 possible if agreements can’t be reached. https://t.co/mkgsjOAJdq— Joe Flint (@JBFlint) February 24, 2023
What does this mean?
The parent company that owns the AT&T Sportsnet channels decided they were not wanting to stay in the regional sports network business and has given until the end of March to transfer the ownership to somewhere else. The company stated it did not have enough cash flow to pay the upcoming fees for the rights to the broadcasts and the parent company of Warner Bros. would not fund the financially failing channel network. If a sale cannot take place by then, Warner Bros. Discovery said that filing for bankruptcy would be the alternative in a plan that will eliminate much of the financial burden from these channels. Three teams, the Rockies, Astros, and Pirates would all be affected by the termination of the channels and concurrent bankruptcy. In terms for the Rockies and their TV revenue, the team could lose up to 15% of their revenue stream by losing the tv deal with AT&T Sportsnet, according to a Fox31 report in February. Other networks besides AT&T Sportsnet are also having financial troubles, including Bally Sports networks.
What is MLB doing about it?
Major League Baseball and Commissioner Rob Manfred stated the league was prepared to take over the broadcasts until the the financial situation is revolved, a sale is made, or the network folds. At the moment, the Rockies games at the beginning of the year will still be on AT&T Sportnet with the same broadcast team as last year, according to a source telling Patrick Saunders last week.
Why did this happened and what it means for the future?
The regional sports broadcasting business has been on a rapid decline with the trend of cord cutting cable in favor of streaming services. Once a major commodity, big companies are trying to get out of the regional sports broadcasting business like Warner Bros. Discover is now. Rob Manfred has stated that he wants MLB to include a streaming service for games that goes beyond MLB.tv and the dreaded blackouts that go with it. Other leagues, like the NFL don’t have regional channels and benefit from big contracts from major networks and MLB should be looking into something similar. One of the main complaints of baseball fans is always accessible to games and blackouts. A move to a league wide streaming service and a shift from regional broadcasts would be a step in the right direction. The financial issues with Bally and now AT&T Sportsnet may be a stepping stone for MLB to start this movement away from the regional broadcasts as these business are already a financial liability to their parent companies which is apparent with Warner Bros. decision.
How can you watch Rockies games in 2023?
While the situation is still fluid, Rockies games are still going to be broadcasted on AT&T Sportsnet at the start of the year, and after that MLB will still host the broadcasts with the same announcing team. How that will look, and if blackouts will occur, is still yet to be known and hopefully a sale will be made before that has to happen. If you are not in the Rocky Mountain region, you will still be able to watch Rockies games on Roku, Apple TV, and MLB.tv as usual for the time being. For those of you in the region, these options may still be accessible with an account and a VPN. With the issues with Altitude and Comcast, Colorado sports fans have had to deal with inconsistent broadcast of other local teams and the Rockies might just join the list of creative ways needed to watch games as well.
With Spring Training wrapping up soon and the season right around the corner, the hope is that the broadcast for the season is already figured out and games can be shown without an issue. Until then, keep on the lookout for an update on the situation on our socials.
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Spring Training is coming to the final stages with Opening Day just a week and a half away and with that, Rockies’ beat writer Thomas Harding gives his predictions for the Opening Day roster. For the bench players, Harding has Alan Trejo, Harold Castro, and Mike Moustakas making the cut, meaning Ezequiel Tovar is expected to get the starting job as short over Trejo. For the rotation, Austin Gomber and Ryan Feltner round out the back portion of the rotation, but offseason acquisition Connor Seabold has been given a long look for that fifth starter position. Newcomers out of the bullpen are Gavin Hollowell, who got his first MLB experience at the end of last season, and Fernando Abad, a non-roster invite who last pitched for the Orioles in 2021. The last week of the spring will make these position battles even more crucial in the final Cactus League games.
Daniel Bard feels awful after breaking Jose Altuve’s thumb with errant pitch during World Baseball Classic | USA Today
Daniel Bard had a rough outing for Team USA in the quarterfinal matchup against Venezuela on Saturday night. Bard surrendered 4 runs and did not record an out, stemming from control issues that led to two walks and a hit batsman. Jose Altuve was the batter that Bard hit, causing a broken thumb to the Astros’ second baseman. In an interview with USA Today, Bard stated “I feel terrible, I was going sinker-in for a swing. I missed up and in. You just hate to see it. You saw my reaction.” Bard plans to reach out to Altuve through Astros’ teammate Kyle Tucker who is also playing for Team USA. His struggles in the WBC have been prevalent with two tough outings, which mechanically, Bard is still trying to get to where he wants to be this spring.
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