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A little over a week ago, Bally Sports channels disappeared from the TVs of Comcast Xfinity subscribers. Given that Comcast is the second-largest cable subscriber in the U.S. and a huge provider in Minnesota, the decision left a lot of fans frustrated.

In an attempt to gain clarity on the subject and provide additional perspective, I chatted with Bally Sports North General Manager Randy Stephens.

You can listen to the entire conversation on Thursday's Daily Delivery podcast.

Here are five takeaways from our conversation:

*The sticking point in negotiations is that Comcast wants to put Bally Sports on a higher-priced tier, while Diamond Sports (the parent company of Bally networks) has balked at that. Whether that's reasonable probably depends on which side of the negotiations you are on, but Stephens said Comcast's stance is not in line with recent deals between Diamond and other cable and satellite carriers.

"All we are trying to do here is is get them to agree to I think what others in their position have agreed are commercially reasonable terms," Stephens said.

*Bally Sports North and the Twins agreed this offseason to a deal for the 2024 season after a lot of offseason speculation that the Twins would change their TV distribution. I asked Stephens about BSN's relationship with the Twins in this moment.

"We have a deep and very productive relationship with the Twins," said Stephens, who took over as Bally Sports North GM about a year ago. "One of the things that I was struck with from the very beginning was just how strong the relationships are between our network and our team partners. ... So I think we have a great relationship. That does not change the fact that, you know, we're in a frustrating situation and that's the reality."

*My sense is that Diamond and Bally tend to get a lot of the blame when negotiations and relationships sour, while carriers and teams get less of it. I mentioned that to Stephens, who said he's more concerned with solving this issue than parsing blame.

But there has been a clear shift in strategy this week. Diamond has been sending correspondence to fans explaining its side of negotiations with Comcast and urging them to put pressure on Comcast. Even making Stephens available for an interview represented a change in approach.

*This isn't the first time we've been through this. Other providers have had pricing disputes and dropped Bally channels in the past. But Comcast felt different to me than a smaller streaming service like Hulu or YouTube TV, and I asked Stephens for his thoughts on that.

"(Comcast) has always recognized the value of local sports and we've always through the years found a way to come to an agreement. We are still hopeful that we will come to an agreement in this situation, hopefully quickly," Stephens said. "If it's surprising, it's only surprising because they've been such good partners over the years in distributing this content to the to the fans."

*I hear more from readers/listeners/fans on TV issues than anything else. I asked Stephens what he is hearing. He noted that BSN is still available on DirecTV, DirecTV Stream and Fubo.

"I would encourage fans that are frustrated who want to watch the games to check out those other options because they are there and they're airing the games on a nightly basis," he said. "So the games are available, and I don't want people to lose sight of that."

That's true, but it is also making long-term cable subscribers (which as multiple readers have pointed out includes subscribers to Comcast subsidiary Midco — a large carrier in non-metro Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota — who no longer have access to BSN) consider a hard and potentially confusing and/or expensive pivot. Some have already made a switch. Some are waiting and seeing if the sides reach an agreement.

Plenty of others are tuning out, canceling subscriptions and finding other things to do — something that hurts the Twins, Bally Sports North and Comcast.