One of the overarching storylines this offseason has been how Diamond Sports' bankruptcy has impacted spending around the league. While the Houston Astros have been somewhat unaffected, given that they set up their own TV distribution deal, spending for several teams this offseason had been put on hold until their TV distribution revenue was sorted out including the Texas Rangers.
Despite winning the World Series last year, Diamond had previously decreed that the Rangers weren't a profitable broadcast deal for them, and there were open threats to not distribute their games unless the deal was renegotiated. Well, the recent deal that saw Amazon invest in Diamond has seeming resolved the TV rights situation, setting the stage for Texas to make a late offseason push.
Rangers' TV revenue getting locked in is bad news for the Astros with one caveat
According to recent reports, Rangers games will indeed be broadcast by Diamond in 2024. Nothing appears to be finalized yet, as the agreement still requires approval, but the prevailing opinion is that the only reason the Rangers have been quiet this offseason is due to the uncertainty surrounding their TV dea. That uncertainty appears to be over now.
One important caveat exists here, though. The same reports also noted that the Rangers, along with the Guardians, did renegotiate the terms of their deals, and both clubs are expected to make up to 15% less in TV revenue next year. While not unexpected given Diamond's current predicament, losing millions in revenue could matter for a Rangers team that already has a lot committed to their payroll.
Unfortunately for the Astros, the Rangers' newfound financial certainty could create some issues in the division race. If this were a normal offseason, most of the big free agents would already be off the market and Texas having some spending money wouldn't be a huge deal until the trade deadline. However, there are still several top free agents available this year -- including Jordan Montgomery, who seems to want to return to the Rangers already.
Assuming that the cut in revenue isn't too damning, we can expect the Rangers to get aggressive again before the start of spring training if previous offseasons are predictive at all. For the Astros, that means that an already strong division rival could be poised to get even stronger this season, especially since the Astros' own TV revenue isn't looking hot going into 2024 and beyond, either.