Bally Sports’ parent company Diamond Sports Group is in a tough fight for survival. The company, stuck in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings, needs to strike some major deals and create a go-forward plan by court-ordered deadlines that are coming up as soon as September 30.
On Tuesday, the regional sports network has asked the judge overseeing the case to appoint mediators as it tries to negotiate TV contracts with DIRECTV, Comcast, Spectrum, NBA, NHL, and its debtors. This comes from a report by Front Office Sports that says negotiations are underway with all of these parties.
Not only does Bally Sports need to create a plan to get out of bankruptcy, but Bally Sports needs to decide if it will pay NBA and NHL teams their full contracts or try to renegotiate unprofitable contracts. This is very similar to what we just went through with MLB teams, which resulted in two teams dropping their TV deals with Bally Sports. Adding pressure to the negotiations are the fact that both the NBA and NHL seasons are set to start in October.
“We believe mediation provides the best path to reach consensus on a reorganization plan with our creditors and achieve a sustainable go-forward business model and capital structure for Diamond Sports Group,” said a company spokesperson.
Bally Sports also has contracts coming up with major cable TV providers, including DIRECTV, Comcast, and Spectrum. If deals here are not reached, Bally Sports may be extremely hard to find on TV. DIRECTV has already made it clear that they want a discount on Bally Sports as it no longer has as many teams. Now it looks like even more teams may leave if deals with the NBA and NHL can not be reached.
The NBA teams Bally Sports currently has contracts with are the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs. Miami Heat, and Milwaukee Bucks.
The NHL teams that Bally Sports currently has contacts with are the Arizona Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Columbus Blue Jackets, Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Los Angeles Kings.
Bally Sports will likely pay to keep most, if not all, of the teams. However, Bally Sports is likely hoping to reach a deal to reduce their payments to unprofitable teams, or explore dropping them altogether.
For now, we will have to wait and see what happens. Much like with the MLB, both sides would like to reach a deal. But will they be able to do so?