May 3, 2024 | By: Lakeland News

MN Twins Games Leaving Midco as Contract with Bally Sports Expires

This past October, the contract the Minnesota Twins had with a bankrupt Diamond Sports Group (the operator of Bally Sports North) was coming to an end, and there were questions swirling about how fans would watch the team come spring 2024. Luckily, the two sides were able to agree to a one-year deal on broadcast rights, settling the issue until at least next offseason – or so we thought.

Many fans tuned in to Bally Sports North on May 1 to watch the Twins try for their MLB-leading 10th win in a row. But those who have Midco as their cable provider were met with an unsavory message on their TV instead. It read, “Bally Sports is no longer available. The owner of Bally Sports is in bankruptcy proceedings and has declined several options to allow us to continue carrying their networks.”

As a result, Midco no longer has the rights to carry their content. Fans took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to voice their displeasure.

Midco boasts servicing over 400,000 customers across five states in the Upper Midwest. And Comcast, the joint venture with Midco servicing the greater Minneapolis area, dropped the sports network as well, leaving even more fans looking elsewhere to watch the Twins play until the deal is struck.

On X, Bally Sports issued a statement via their support saying, “Unfortunately, Comcast has rejected a proposed extension that would have kept our channels on the air and instead they pulled our signals while we continued to pursue a multi-year renewal agreement.”

The Minnesota Twins issued their own statement, saying, “The Twins are disappointed by this massive disruption for our fans who simply want to watch our games. The situation is a business negotiation between Comcast and Bally’s. The Twins have no role or voice in this matter.”

But some are not so quick to let the team off the hook. Aaron Gleeman, a writer for The Athletic, responded via X stating, “While technically true, it’s only an issue because the Twins chose more money over more availability by returning to Bally. Now their fans are hurt by yet another consequence of the team’s decisions.”

John Bonnes, operator of Twins Daily, was also critical of the team and responded by saying the Twins voluntarily “slapped some big golden handcuffs on themselves” and that they took “a big wad of money from Bally for their TV rights, giving up control of how it would be brought to consumers.” He went on to point out that team ownership then pocketed the cash and did not add it to this year’s payroll, which was decreased by $30 million.

As of late Thursday, all parties are still pointing fingers at each other with a solution seemingly unlikely to arise in the near future. The Twins will try to continue their win streak on Friday, but even if they extend it to 11 straight games with a victory at home over the Red Sox, the fans will still have lost.

Trying to stream games has proved difficult as well. Many fans tried to watch the Twins on MLB Extra Innings, but they only allow streaming for out-of-market games. Options for watching games include DirectTV, Fubo, Bally Sports+, and also Paul Bunyan Communications in much of the Lakeland viewing area.

And of course, another way to see the Twins play is to head to Target Field in-person.

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