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Scripps Sports ‘Ready to Do A Deal’ With MLB Clubs

After announcing their first national television sports deal yesterday, Scripps CEO Adam Symson says the company is ready for more rights deals.

ION television network will broadcast WNBA games on 15 consecutive Friday nights during the league’s season, marking the first sports property placed on the channel. Symson says there’s an opportunity for more deals to be done.

“If we found another league that was the right fit and intersected so well with the demographics that we have on ION, there’s room for more,” Scripps CEO Adam Symson told Broadcasting+Cable.

The launch of Scripps Sports coincided with reports that the Bally Sports-branded regional sports networks were approaching bankruptcy last December. That ultimately proved true, as Diamond Sports Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March, and has been the subject of speculation that it could choose to end contracts with several MLB teams to get out from under the unfavorable financial terms.

While no club has yet to depart the Bally Sports channels, Symson added that Scripps will be there should MLB need a landing spot.

“MLB has the whole situation well in hand. We’ve obviously had conversations with the folks in distribution with every major league that has been dependent on the RSN business,” Symson said. “Where we think there’s a fit with our local footprint and league or a series of teams, we’re absolutely ready to do a deal.”

The Arizona Diamondbacks, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians, Minnesota Twins, and Texas Rangers have all been pegged as likely candidates to see their television contracts with Bally Sports end, leaving them looking for new television homes. Scripps owns over-the-air television stations in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Phoenix, and Tucson, among other major and large market cities.

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