Twins, Bally Sports North could soon part ways over lawsuit with rights fees

The Minnesota Twins could learn as early as Wednesday if their regular season games will continue to be televised on Bally Sports North.

The Twins are part of a lawsuit including the Cleveland Guardians, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers and Major League Baseball against Diamond Sports Group. That business owns regional sports networks that carry games for as many as 14 MLB teams.

The lawsuit is seeking for Diamond Sports to fulfill their contracts with those teams and pay rights fees that were due on April 1. Diamond Sports filed for bankruptcy in February. The group is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting, but operates independently. 

Byron Buxton #25 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates with Pablo Lopez #49 after hitting a home run against the Kansas City Royals on April 30, 2023 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  ((Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images))

Bally Sports North paid 75 percent of the money owed. MLB teams, including the Twins, want the payments made in full or to have the contracts terminated. MLB is prepared to take over broadcasting the games, and will do so on Wednesday after the TV contract with the San Diego Padres was terminated. If that were to happen with the Twins, their broadcasting team would continue working with MLB.

Earlier this season, the Twins had a game aired on FOX 9 Plus, as Bally Sports North was occupied with the Timberwolves and Wild having playoff series aired on the regional sports network. The Twins are in a bit of a different situation than other MLB teams, as their contract with BSN is up in October, and their path to a future broadcasting partner isn’t totally clear.

A federal bankruptcy judge is expected to rule Wednesday or Thursday that Diamond Sports Group either pay in full the amount due to the Twins, Guardians, Diamondbacks and Rangers, or TV contracts will be terminated and give back broadcasting rights to teams. In that case, MLB would be responsible for airing Twins’ games between cable, satellite and streaming services.

The Twins being on Bally Sports North has been a point of contention for many fans not able to get to Target Field. It's only available for those who still have cable TV, or use DirecTV. Most streaming services don't carry Bally Sports North as a channel, and while it has a stand-alone app for $20/month, Twins' broadcasts are not included.

On the field side of things, the Twins are 28-27 and lead the American League Central Division by two games over the Detroit Tigers. The Twins finish a series at Houston Wednesday night before returning home for four games against the Guardians.