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A large swath of Twins fans either stayed up late Tuesday or woke up early Wednesday to receive some very unpleasant news.

Comcast, a huge cable TV provider in Minnesota and second-largest in the United States with a reported 14.1 million subscribers in 2023, has dropped Bally Sports channels from its lineup after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on a carriage deal.

The team most immediately impacted is the Twins, as I talked about on Wednesday's Daily Delivery podcast.

Comcast subscribers currently do not have access to the Twins game Wednesday against the White Sox, and plenty of them have already voiced their displeasure on social media.

Understanding where we are now is nuanced. To bring people up to speed, here are five things to know about not only this dispute but the increasingly fraught relationship between teams, regional sports networks and cable/satellite/streaming providers.

*What is the background? This could be a book instead of just a few paragraphs, but the quickest version is that cable/satellite subscribers have been dwindling over the last decade as more people "cut the cord."

Streaming services like Hulu, YouTube TV and Sling emerged as cheaper alternatives to cable or satellite and initially offered regional sports networks like Bally Sports North (previously Fox Sports North) but many of them have dropped those networks in pricing disputes since then — leading to frustrated fan bases.

Diamond Sports, a subsidiary of Sinclair, bought all the Bally Sports regional networks five years ago for close to $11 billion but saw their value decrease quickly with those subscription losses. They entered bankruptcy in March 2023, accelerating an unsettled period for the future of TV.

*What happened this week? Diamond Sports had actually been on a streak of good news before Tuesday, having recently announced new carriage deals with DirecTV, Charter Communications and Cox Communications.

Talks between Diamond and Comcast broke down over a disagreement over pricing tiers, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. Comcast has moved several independent RSNs to its digital premier tier — a subscription package that is roughly $20 more than its basic tier, where the RSNs previously resided — and wants to move all the Bally channels to this tier.

Diamond wants to keep the Bally channels on the basic tier of Comcast's package. The sides have been negotiating for months after Comcast gave Diamond a six-month extension last fall. That extension expired Tuesday, and with no deal in place Comcast dropped the Bally channels late Tuesday night.

*Where can fans who have Comcast watch local teams now? If the impasse persists, it will hurt the Twins and Lynx the fastest. The streaming service Fubo, which has Bally Sports North, is offering a free trial. Twins games are not available on via the $20 a month Bally Sports standalone streaming app, but Lynx games are part of that package.

The Wolves and Wild are done on Bally Sports until next season (the Wolves vs. Nuggets second-round playoff series starting Saturday is only on national TV).

*Why did the Twins stay on Bally Sports North in 2024? The Twins released a terse statement after BSN was dropped from Comcast that read: "The Twins are disappointed by this massive disruption for our fans who simply want to watch our games. This situation is a business negotiation between Comcast and Bally's. The Twins have no role or voice in this matter. We are hopeful the two parties are able to come to an agreement as soon as possible."

This is true, but it's not the whole story. After a tumultuous season during which the Twins had to go to court to ensure they were paid the roughly $54 million in rights fees from Diamond in 2023, the contract between the sides expired and Twins had the option to change their distribution in 2024.

In February, they announced that they were staying with Bally Sports North but that games still would not be available for standalone streaming. It was almost certainly the best financial deal for the Twins at the time, as opposed to perhaps striking a deal to have MLB produce and distribute its games, but it has not proved to be the best thing for fans.

*Is this the end for Diamond Sports? It's hard to say what the long-term impact is, but Comcast's desire to move Bally Sports channels to its more expensive tier is firm. Unless that happens, Bally Sports will not return to Comcast.

In the current model, subscribers pay for access to channels. Carriers like Comcast pay to show those channels. And regional sports networks pay teams for the rights to show the games.

Losing the revenue from Comcast could put Diamond in a tenuous financial position as it continues to navigate bankruptcy.

Comcast customers will get a bill credit of $8 to $10 a month as long as Bally Sports channels are not part of their package.

But that's of little consolation for a lot of fans who would rather have access to the Twins and other local teams.