Hello, Sunday!

  • Axios sports writers Jeff Tracy and Kendall Baker here, pitching you the latest news for Major League Baseball's season-opening weekend.
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This newsletter is 477 words a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: Baseball blackouts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Today's Twins game will be broadcast on Bally Sports North, but that might not be the case by the end of the season.

Why it matters: The regional sports network (RSN) model, once a bedrock of the legacy TV business, is on its deathbed.

How we got here: The number of people who pay to watch Twins games on TV has declined dramatically over the past decade.

  • Bally Sports North (formerly Fox Sports North) saw its subscriber base drop from 2.6 million in 2018 to just 1.2 million in 2023, according to research by S&P Global Market Intelligence that was published in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
  • Cord cutting here and across the country coincided with a 22% decline in Diamond Sports revenues between 2019 and 2022, per the Biz Journal.

The big picture: Fans across the country in markets including Los Angeles, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Miami could see their favorite teams' broadcasts blown up midseason if MLB is able to wrestle control of those rights back due to Diamond's financial troubles, reports Axios' Tim Baysinger.

  • MLB is using Diamond's troubles as an opportunity to play a larger role in how its teams' games are broadcast.
  • The league eventually wants control over all 30 teams' local rights, based on the belief that the RSN model is irreparable.

The latest: Diamond will begin the season still carrying all 14 of its teams on its Bally Sports regional networks. It's an open question how many it will still have by October.

Go deeper.

2. 💰 A trip to Target Field is a deal

Data: Team Marketing Report Fan Cost Index; Chart: Axios Visuals

When factoring in food, souvenirs and parking, it costs $29 less than the national average to go to a Twins game.

Full Twins preview guide — what's new at Target Field, our predictions and more

3. 🗞️ ICYMI: News from the Twin Cities

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

⚖️ The Minneapolis City Council voted 11-0 on Friday to approve a settlement agreement with the state that will force significant changes to the city's embattled police department.

🏗 Minneapolis office towers could soon become apartment buildings, thanks to backing from Mayor Jacob Frey.

⛑ Democratic lawmakers in Minnesota and other blue states are part of a push to protect gender-affirming care. Leading the way locally is Rep. Leigh Finke, a St. Paul Democrat who made history as the first openly transgender person elected to the state Legislature.

💓 "Love is Blind" is now casting in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and y'all went bonkers over the news.

  • It was our most-read story last week, and according to our analytics, it was shared pretty widely over Microsoft Teams. If that's your office, we see you and applaud you.

🏒 What we're watching

The Gophers face off against Boston University in their second straight Frozen Four appearance Thursday in Tampa, Florida. The puck drops at 4pm CDT.

  • The winner plays in the national championship Saturday night, also in Tampa.

This newsletter was edited by Emma Way and copy edited by James Gilzow.