Diamond Sports, the owner of the 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks, next week could forego its broadcast rights to the San Diego Padres by failing to deliver its regular rights payment to the team. A Texas bankruptcy court judge has set a May 31 hearing to rule on Diamond’s motion to reduce its payments to the teams.
The Texas bankruptcy court overseeing Diamond Sports Group’s restructuring says the NBA franchise must first try to negotiate a new deal with Sinclair’s regional sports network subsidiary.
Sinclair’s Diamond Sports Group subsidiary has paid the Cincinnati Reds the initial payment for the team’s 2023 local TV rights, within a mandated 15-day grace period after the April 17 due date, keeping the MLB club on regional sports network Bally Sports Ohio.
If Sinclair’s Diamond Sports Group doesn’t pay Cincinnati’s MLB team by Friday, the club is set to broadcast its own games starting Saturday vs. the White Sox on a new channel. The Reds have handshake agreements with Charter Communications, the dominant cable TV supplier in the Cincinnati DMA, as well as DirecTV.
Diamond Sports Group, which runs the Bally Sports regional sports networks, said that the agreement the NBA’s Phoenix Suns announced today to have games broadcast on TV stations owned by Gray Television breaches its contract with the team and violates bankruptcy law.
Bally Sports Bankruptcy: Judge Tells Diamond To Pay Half Of What It Owes To MLB Clubs, Pending Restructure
A Texas bankruptcy court overseeing the Chapter 11 restructuring of Sinclair’s regional sports networks subsidiary, Diamond Sports Group, has told Diamond to pay half of what it owes to four of the five Major League Baseball franchises to which it had previously withheld TV rights payments for the just-started 2023 baseball season. The unpaid balances, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Lopez said, will be rendered next month, after the restructuring process resets the individual team fees Diamond must pay.
What Happens Next For Tegna?
Major League Baseball has asked a federal court overseeing the bankruptcy case involving Sinclair Inc.’s Diamond Sports Group to terminate the broadcaster’s rights to games played by the Cleveland Guardians and Minnesota Twins if it does not make an immediate payment connected to licensing rights.
MLB Files Emergency Motion To Force Diamond To Either Pay The Twins And Guardians Or Give Up The TV Rights
Major League Baseball filed a motion last week to the Texas bankruptcy court overseeing the restructuring of Diamond Sports Group, the Sinclair subsidiary that manages the Bally Sports regional sports network channels, demanding that the Cleveland Guardians and Minnesota Twins be paid for their TV rights or released from their Bally Sports contracts. Meanwhile, baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks, who haven’t received their Bally Sports rights payment either, filed a separate but similar motion on their own behalf.
Change is coming quickly for Diamond Sports Group, with the bankrupt Sinclair Broadcast Group subsidiary parting ways Monday with its president, veteran Universal executive Steve Rosenberg. Rosenberg’s role will be filled by Diamond CFO David DeVoe, with his reports answering on an interim basis to CEO David Preschlack.
Sinclair’s Diamond Officially Misses $31M Diamondbacks Payment, Sets Up Tense Bally Sports Bankruptcy Reorg Negotiations With MLB
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s regional sports networks division, Diamond Sports Group, has officially missed the deadline for a $30.8 million TV rights payment to Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks, signaling that the restructuring plan Diamond entered into bankruptcy with earlier this week has more than a few outs to get before it retires the side. For now, with the Diamondbacks set to open their 2023 regular season on the road against the Los Angeles Dodgers on March 30, it appears there will be no disruption to Diamond’s Bally Sports Arizona channel carrying the games.
The move came after it missed a $140 million interest payment last month. Diamond owns 19 networks under the Bally Sports banner. Those networks have the rights to 42 professional teams — 14 baseball, 16 NBA and 12 NHL. The company said in a release Tuesday night that it expects to continue to operate during the bankruptcy process and that coverage of games should not be affected.
Diamond Sports Group, the largest owner of U.S. regional sports networks, filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, toppled by a more than $8 billion debt load. The company, which is an unconsolidated and independently run subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Texas. Diamond said it was still finalizing the restructuring support agreement with creditors. The plan could see Diamond separate from Sinclair to become a standalone operation, Diamond said.
Diamond Sports Group, the subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group that operates the troubled Bally Sports regional sports networks, appointed David DeVoe Jr. chief operating officer, effective immediately. The company also named Eric Ratchman president of distribution and business development, a new post.
After Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Diamond Sports Group skipped about $140 million in interest payments due Wednesday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Diamond has told MLB it intends to pay its baseball teams, but he called it an “unfolding story” that could change. “In the event that MLB stepped in, what we would do is we would produce the games, we would make use of our asset with the MLB Network to do that, we would go directly to distributors, Comcast, Charter, the big distributors, and make an agreement to have those games distributed on cable networks,” he added.
The missed payments by Diamond Sports Group started a 30-day grace period that could be the prelude to a bankruptcy filing, which could lead to changes in how televised games are made available to viewers. Diamond said: “The company intends to use the 30-day grace period to continue progressing its ongoing discussions with creditors and other key stakeholders regarding potential strategic alternatives and deleveraging transactions to best position Diamond Sports Group for the future.”
Diamond Sports Group, the division of Sinclair Broadcast Group that runs the troubled Bally Sports regional sports networks, has a deadline of Wednesday to make a $140 million interest payment. How the day plays out could have a big impact on the future of local sports on TV. While most reports have indicated that Diamond — which now operates independently from Sinclair — will decide not to make the payment, a source familiar with the situation maintains that Diamond making the payment remains in play.
Diamond Sports Group, the Sinclair Broadcast Group unit that runs the Bally Sports regional sports networks, is planning to file for bankruptcy next week when a big interest payment is due. Sinclair borrowed about $9 billion when it bought the 19 Fox regional sports networks from The Walt Disney Co. in 2019. Sinclair rebranded the networks after making a deal with Bally’s Corp.
“I think you should assume that if Diamond doesn’t broadcast, we’ll be in a position to step in,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after an owners’ meeting. “Our goal would be to make games available not only within the traditional cable bundle but on the digital side, as well.”
Concerned about a possible bankruptcy for Diamond Sports Group, the subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group that operates networks under the name Bally Sports and owns local broadcasting rights to 14 of the 30 Major League Baseball teams, the league has formed a new economic study committee that will gather next week at the owners’ meetings in Palm Beach, Fla.
America’s largest owner of local sports channels is heading toward a complex $8.6 billion debt restructuring in bankruptcy court as it stakes its future on a new direct-to-consumer streaming service. After leveraging up to buy regional sports networks from Walt Disney Co. in 2019, Diamond Sports Group LLC is suffering from a decline in cable TV subscribers, spurring negotiations with creditors and major sports leagues about its viability as a going concern. The outcome will have serious implications for the $55 billion world of sports media rights
Billy Chambers will start with Major League Baseball on Feb. 1 in the newly created position of executive vice president for local media, the commissioner’s office said Thursday.
Talks for MLB, the NBA and NHL to acquire the nation’s dominant owner of regional sports networks are faltering — raising the likelihood of a bankruptcy filing that could hasten a nationwide migration of sports fans away from cable TV.
The Bally sports app is now available on millions of Samsung devices.
The former NBC Sports exec will oversee the troubled Bally Sports regional sports networks.
Struggling regional sports network operator Diamond Sports Group is set to name a CEO Monday, making it more independent from Sinclair Broadcast Group, which has been running the chain of Bally Sports Networks. Sinclair bought the RSNs from The Walt Disney Co., taking on about $9 billion in debit. Since the acquisition, the RSN have lost subscribers and the cost of sports rights has climbed, putting Sinclair in a financial bind. Earlier this year, Sinclair refinanced Diamond’s debt and separated its financials from Diamond’s.
Sinclair’s Diamond RCNs Hit By Subscriber Churn
Third quarter media revenues were down 10% to $684 million. Distribution revenues dropped 11% to $565 million and advertising revenues declined 5% to $112 million. However, Sinclair COO Robert Weisbord had some good news: “On a per-game basis, ad revenues were up by a mid-teens percent, driven by healthy demand in many categories — with the largest gains in service, retail, food and entertainment,” he reported. “Looking forward, we see some positive signs for advertising demand.”
MLB, the NBA and the NHL may orchestrate a buyout of the nation’s dominant owner of regional sports TV networks, whose shaky finances pose an increasing threat to their teams. The trio of pro-sports leagues are expected to soon begin talks with Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Diamond Sports, which operates 21 regional Bally Sports networks that account for more than half the local broadcast markets around the country, sources close to the situation say.
Sinclair Touts Early 74% Conversion Rate For Bally Sports Plus Trial Users, But Additional MLB Rights Cloud DTC Service’s Future
Seventy-four percent of those who sign up for a free seven-day trial of Bally Sports Plus end up with a paid subscription, and users of the DTC streaming service spend, on average, 33% more time on the platform than they do for the respective TV Everywhere platforms of the 19 Bally Sports regional sports network. Oh, and usage of Bally Sports Plus interactive features has been “better than expected.” Those were the early takeaways from the first quarterly earnings report for Diamond Sports Group, the wholly owned subsidiary that runs the Bally Sports channels, which was spun off from Sinclair Broadcast Group on March 1.
In this newly created role, Schneider will have operational oversight over the Bally Sports+ participatory DTC sports platform, anchored by Bally Sports’ live event programming.
Sinclair Taps Randy Freer As Diamond Sports Group Board Chair, Secures $635M For New Bally Sports DTC Venture
The broadcaster makes a number of big moves ahead of the big DTC launch it says is happening “later this quarter.”
Sinclair Broadcast Group‘s regional sports network unit Diamond Sports Group has signed a new deal with the National Basketball Association that gives its Bally Sports networks permission to offer streaming content including live games on an authenticated and direct-to-consumer basis.
The deal covers 16 NBA teams in their local territories.
The sports channels still lack YouTube TV, Hulu, fuboTV carriage. Dish negotiations are expected in August.
Sinclair Broadcast Group’s regional sports business and its creditors are preparing for a possible restructuring of its roughly $8 billion debt load, a sign of the pressure on the sports industry from COVID-19, according to people familiar with the matter. Sinclair subsidiary Diamond Sports Group’s bondholders have hired legal and financial advisers as it deals with the dearth of live sports during the coronavirus pandemic and the loss of some carriage deals with pay TV distributors.