The Cleveland Guardians will be impacted by the collapse of Bally’s but how much?
The Cleveland Guardians’ payroll has been a subject of much debate since the late 1990s, ever since the Dolans bought the team. The Guardians have long been one of the more frugal teams in the league, in part due to how revenue sharing in the MLB works. Unlike the NBA and NFL, where there are things like revenue sharing, salary caps, and floors, baseball is still very much a sport where the rich get richer and the not-so-rich sell off their pieces eventually.
So teams like the Guardians end up having to rely on alternate revenue streams outside of ticket sales and merch to help bolster their payroll. For the Guardians, selling their television rights was a big get for them. It helped them significantly for years, and when Bally’s Sports, owned by Diamond Sports Group (via Sinclair Broadcasting), it was seen as a huge win for the Guards and other smaller market clubs.
But due to recent issues with Bally’s and their mounting debt, the regional cable company has filed for bankruptcy, putting many teams in the MLB, NBA, and NHL into serious jeopardy with no sure-fire way to view the product. MLB has said they’ll air in-market games for free for those affected, which according to sources will include the Guardians.
The lack of viewing options isn’t the worst part of the Guardians. With Bally’s likely not picking up the Guardians contract, this will affect their bottom line. One fan asked Cleveland.com writer Paul Hoynes just how badly this whole ordeal will affect the club and Hoynes, a long-time sports writer, believes there will be some issues for the club but that it won’t affect re-signing key players.
"Hey, Hoynsie: What impact do you think the bankruptcy of Diamond Sports Group will have on the Guardians ability to extend contracts?Hey, Mike: It does create uncertainty, which is not good for the organization. But I’ve heard that it won’t stop them from offering players contract extensions if that’s what they decide to do."
The Cleveland Guardians had to expect this
The Guardians are one of the best and brightest clubs in the game. They have a stellar front office and who have a great crop of guys who get paid to expect market trends. The rumors that Bally’s has been shuttering their doors have been going on for a while now, even before free agency.
So it would stand to reason the Guardians wouldn’t have made the moves they made over the last few months without a solid idea of what to expect, how it would affect them, and what they could do to help mitigate the losses. So the team should be fine going forward, and won’t have to cut payroll.
The team’s payroll may take a minor hit over the coming years, but the club should be fine in the long run.