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Amid Bally Sports news, Twins believe games will be aired as scheduled in 2023

Bloomberg reported this week the sports network is nearing bankruptcy

Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa (left) and Billy Hamilton (right) look on during a Sept. 29, 2022 game against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Minnesota Twins shortstop Carlos Correa (left) and Billy Hamilton (right) look on during a Sept. 29, 2022 game against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field in Minneapolis.
Jeffrey Becker / USA Today Sports

The Twins “have significant concerns,” but don’t anticipate any disruptions to their 2023 television schedule, team president and CEO Dave St. Peter said days after Bloomberg reported that Diamond Sports Group LLC, which does business as Bally Sports, is facing potential bankruptcy.

Diamond, which is owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., will “likely skip $140 million in interest payments due in mid-February,” Bloomberg reported, bringing it closer to bankruptcy.

“I have every reason to believe that our games will be produced and aired on Bally Sports North as scheduled in 2023,” St. Peter said Friday. “That’s our expectation. That’s my belief.

“We’ve had a lot of conversations, as have all the other Bally clubs in major league production, and we’ve been assured that the production of our games, the distribution of our games, those things at this point are not in jeopardy. But clearly, we’re watching things closely.”

As for beyond 2023, St. Peter said the Twins are currently in an “exclusive discussion” with Bally Sports about the future of Twins baseball on the network as their current contract ends after the 2023 season.

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“You know, that’s still my hope. But you know, at the end of the day, I suspect that all options will be on the table,” St. Peter said. “The most important thing for us is reach. We have to make sure that our product is as widely accessible as possible. That’s our goal. And we want to make sure we deliver that as soon as possible.”

Cord-cutting Twins fans have voiced their frustration with Bally Sports since the contractual agreement between Hulu + Live TV and YouTube TV to carry the Bally Sports Regional Sports Networks expired in 2020. Bally launched its own streaming service last year, Bally Sports+ at a cost of $19.99 a month. But as of Friday, St. Peter said, 2023 Twins games will not be available to stream through that service.

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“We all recognize the vital need for us to expand the reach of our products, beyond just traditional cable and satellite but through more of a direct-to-consumer or streaming platform,” he said. “We’re spending a lot of time on that. Major League Baseball is spending a lot of time on it, and I’m hopeful that hopefully sooner versus later we can deliver on that.”

Target Field updates

The Twins’ brand refresh, introduced in November, comes with a number of tweaks — thousands, to be more precise — to Target Field. Around 4,500 marks around the ballpark featuring the old logo must be swapped out, St. Peter said, which is an ongoing process.

The Twins also are installing a new scoreboard in left field that is 75% larger than the video board they had last season, part of a $30 million project. Once completed, St. Peter said it would be the sixth-largest in the majors.

On Friday, the Twins introduced new designs for the Minnie and Paul Celebration sign in center field, as well. It will now read, “Win! Twins!” instead of the script “Twins,” that had previously been featured on the sign. The LED lighting will be customizable, and the handshake between Minnie and Paul will now be mechanical.

Additionally, the Twins are installing a baseball medallion that will illuminate and rotate around the TC logo on top of the tower in right field.

Briefly

St. Peter said the Twins have plans to introduce two new ticket packages in the coming weeks. One will be an all-inclusive food and beverage season ticket package with seats in left field. … St. Peter also said the Twins expect to top last season’s attendance total and expect to sell north of two million tickets this season.

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