The Twins have been in negotiations this past week with Bally Sports North over televising the team's games in 2024. No telling yet if the fees being discussed constitute a Christmas bonus for the budget-conscious Twins.

Though the Twins' contract with BSN, which paid the team more than $54 million for the 2023 season, expired at season's end, the regional sports network and its bankrupt parent company, Diamond Sports Group, have expressed "strong and sincere interest" in renewing their ties for one more year, according to two sources with knowledge of the talks. Discussions took place this past week, though neither source would confirm published reports that the network made a formal offer, nor reveal the funding being proposed.

Since BSN missed a payment after Diamond declared bankruptcy last March, then later asserted at a bankruptcy court hearing in Houston that the network loses money televising the Twins, it's presumed that BSN's offer is lower, probably substantially so, than their expired contract called for. That likelihood makes the Twins' willingness to remain partnered with BSN, even for one year, far from assured.

Still, there is some value in having a definitive answer about 2024.

"As this drags on, it seems clear there is a path to going back to Bally, if only for just one more year," said Cory Provus, who will handle play-by-play duties on the team's telecasts beginning this season. "I'm not privy to any of the negotiations, nothing like that, but it feels like we're stuck in place while we wait for resolution. I understand fans' frustration with that uncertainty. I feel it too."

The last-ditch effort by the network comes as mediation has reportedly firmed up Diamond's commitment to nine of their other 11 teams still under contract. According to a Sports Business Journal report, Diamond has agreed to pay in full rights fees owed in 2024 to the Angels, Brewers, Braves, Cardinals, Marlins, Rays, Reds, Royals and Tigers.

That leaves the Guardians and Rangers, who, like the Twins, had to go to court last summer to force Diamond to fulfill their contracts, without a broadcast partner for next season. But Diamond is also reportedly trying to negotiate a reduced rights fee with those teams.

The regional networks have already brokered deals with their NBA and NHL partners, including the Timberwolves and Wild, to televise their games this season, then terminate their contracts once it ends. Terms of the reported tentative agreement with MLB teams have not been revealed, but it's likely to also lapse once the 2024 season ends.

Time is growing short for the Twins, who remain uncertain about how fans will watch their games next year — not to mention how much revenue they can count on — with only seven weeks remaining until players report to training camp. The Twins have already conceded that they expect to reduce their payroll from its record $154 million last season.

On the TV production side, "we want to get started on the planning. I want to know who I'm going to be working with, the technical crew, everything," Provus said. "We have some ideas about how it should look and sound this season, but you can't get to work on it until you have your team in place."

A hearing in federal bankruptcy court will be held in Houston on Jan. 10, with judge Christopher Lopez expected to rule on whether Diamond's deal with its MLB partners, which has yet to be signed, can go forward.

That hearing serves as an unofficial deadline for the Twins, sources said, and an announcement about the team's intentions could follow soon afterward. If they agree to BSN's terms, their broadcasting plans will be settled; if not, it appears the Twins' only option will be to ask MLB to produce and distribute its games, as the league did last year (and will continue to in 2024) for the Padres and Diamondbacks when their Bally regional networks terminated their contracts.

Even if the Twins strike a deal with BSN for satellite and cable broadcasts, it's possible they could ask MLB to stream their games on its MLB.TV app. Several teams are reportedly leery of allowing Bally to stream games after many technical issues cropped up on the app while streaming NBA and NHL games.

One additional wrinkle looming over Diamond's efforts to keep the Bally-branded networks afloat in 2024: The company's contract with Charter Communications, the second-largest cable operator in the U.S., expires in February. If Charter chose to drop the regional sports networks, the bankrupt company's revenue streams would be reduced even further, and NBA and NHL teams could withdraw from their contracts.

The uncertainty over local broadcasts has scrambled financial planning throughout baseball. Local broadcasts accounted for 22% of MLB teams' revenue in 2023, according to Forbes magazine.