MLB blackout rules make Bally Sports fiasco even worse for Tigers fans

The Tigers are good. But Comcast and Bally Sports can't find a way to keep them on TV for millions of fans.
May 1, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Riley Greene (31) celebrates after
May 1, 2024; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Tigers left fielder Riley Greene (31) celebrates after / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

This is the most fun season of Detroit Tigers baseball in some time. It's a pity that Tigers fans suddenly can't see their team play if they usually watch their favorite team play on Comcast.

Beginning May 1, Comcast dropped Bally Sports around the country, including in Detroit.

"Negotiations between Comcast and Bally Sports’ operator Diamond Sports Group, which has been under bankruptcy protection since last year, broke down following a dispute over terms," a CNBC article notes. "Comcast provides cable and internet services under the Xfinity brand.

Comcast make a lengthy statement, saying they did their best to reach a deal before making the decision.

“We have been very flexible with Diamond Sports Group for months as they work through their bankruptcy proceedings, providing them with an extension on the Bally Sports Regional Networks last fall and a unilateral right to extend the term for another year, which they opted to not exercise," they said.

Comcast subscribers who suddenly lost access to Bally Sports will get a refund in the meantime, Comcast said.

"We’d like to continue carrying their networks, but they have declined multiple offers and now we no longer have the rights to this programming," Comcast said. "We will proactively credit our customers for the costs associated with them — most will automatically receive $8 to 10 per month in credits."

Diamond Sports, which is the owner of Bally Sports, countered in its own statement.

"It’s disappointing that Comcast rejected a proposed extension that would have kept our channels on the air and that Comcast indicated that it intends to pull the signals, preventing fans from watching their favorite local teams,” Diamond Sports Group said. “Comcast has refused to engage in substantive discussions despite Diamond offering terms similar to those reached with much larger distributors of ours."

Tigers fans in Michigan can't watch them on MLBTV either

Fans predictably do not care about two businesses fighting over money. They just want to watch their team.

Tigers fans are made even angrier because there's no simple (legal) way around the issue. Trying to watch their team on MLB TV has just resulted in screens showing the game to be blacked out in Michigan (and a bit beyond).

MLB's blackout rules continue to be inane. Making it harder to watch your product seems like a loser of a business decision, especially given the frequent backlash, but MLB continues to do so year after year.

Hopefully for fans' sake this will be settled soon. In the meantime, you can subscribe to Fubo, DirectTV, DirectTV+, or the Bally Sports app.