What does the future hold for Braves fans wanting to watch Braves games?

Baseball TV rights are a hot topic right now with the Braves' future decidedly uncertain.
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves v Philadelphia Phillies / Kevin D. Liles/Atlanta Braves/GettyImages

This offseason has been has been a big one in terms of how baseball games, including Atlanta Braves' games, are going to be distributed to the masses. Diamond Sports owns the TV rights to around half the teams in the league including the Braves and their recent bankruptcy appears to be poised to alter the television broadcasting landscape of sports dramatically and has also caused issues this offseason with teams unsure how much they will be earning from their TV deals.

The Braves are fortunate to be a very profitable brand and there was never any risk that they would have trouble finding a way to broadcast their games. Being owned by a media company has it's advantages there. However, bankruptcy proceedings have moved slowly and all of the uncertainty as to whether Diamond was going to be able to broadcast any games in 2024 has been daunting for a sport that is trying it's damnedest to appeal to a wide audience.

Recent developments have both added some certainty in some areas as well as created some more questions down the line. Amazon recently stepped in and invested in Diamond Sports Group with the hope that the Diamond can emerge from bankruptcy as a functional entity and continuing to broadcast games for the foreseeable future while allowing Amazon to stream some baseball games on Prime Video.

What does the Amazon/Diamond deal mean for Braves fans?

Don't get too excited, Braves fans. Unfortunately, Amazon is only going to be streaming games for teams that they have the streaming rights for. In the case of MLB, that means they will only be able to stream games from some of Diamond's teams and that does not include the Braves. The same lack of streaming rights issue prevented Braves games from being shown on Bally Sports Plus.

Now that said, things could change relatively rapidly. While Diamond Sports may have bought themselves some time with getting an investment from Amazon, said deal has to be approved by the bankruptcy judge. With MLB showing no interest in re-upping with Diamond with any of their deals or granting them further streaming rights even if they emerge from bankruptcy, the future of baseball on TV is still very up in the air.

The most obvious potential future does involve Amazon, however. Amazon's interest in broadcasting sports to increase the value of their Prime Video service feels like it could be the future without local blackouts that MLB has been looking for. Assuming this deal gets approved and does well for Amazon, having them continue buying more streaming rights and continue to invest in baseball seems like the next logical step.

Failing that, having all games run through the MLB Network is an option albeit not a great one especially if fans can't target just their teams' games easily or cost-effectively. This could also be an opportunity for the Braves to set up and own their own RSN potentially in tandem with the Hawks who are also under the Diamond umbrella at the moment. Again, Liberty Media certainly has the expertise and infrastructure to pull such a network off if they wanted to go in that direction.

Time will tell as to how all of this TV stuff is going to shake out, but it is clear that the entire landscape of sports viewing is changing right in front of our eyes.

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