Bally Sports Has a Savior? Amazon Reportedly Looking at Investing in the Troubled Sports Network




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Bally Sports, the regional sports network trying to work its way out of bankruptcy, may be getting a lifeline from Amazon.

Amazon is in talks to invest in Bally Sports’ parent, Diamond Sports Group, in a deal that could bring the network’s games onto the online retail giant’s streaming service, according to The Wall Street Journal. Bally Sports has deals with several NBA teams, and is working out a deal with the MLB that would take it through the end of the 2024 season. It’s also still in discussions with the NHL to carry the games of some of its teams as well.

A deal could Amazon’s Prime Video service could be the home of a myriad of NBA and MLB games, adding to its steady ramp of sports offerings, including the NFL’s Thursday Night Football. For Diamond Sports Group, an investment could help shore up its business and aid in its plans to reorganize and exit bankruptcy.

Diamond Sports Group is still going through a number of hearings and has asked for an extension to May to file its bankruptcy exist plans. An influx of cash could allow the company to survive, with both the MLB and former parent Sinclair Broadcasting, having previously expressed the belief it would shut down next year.

On Friday, Diamond Sports Group got a reprieve when a bankruptcy court dismissed Sinclair’s motion seeking an immediate repayment of $147 million in management services. It also pushed back a decision on the MLB’s request for Diamond Sports Group to make a call on their media rights agreement.

Earlier this year, Bally Sports sued Sinclair, alleging it had overcharged the regional sports network for those management services and profited from the business at the expense of parent Diamond Sports Group. Sinclair had claimed it was giving Bally Sports a discount on its service.

Bally Sports was formed from the spin-off of then regional Fox Sports networks as part of Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s movie and television assets. But the regional sports networks, run under Sinclair, struggled to turn a profit amid a rise in cord cutting and the pandemic, which took games off the air for long stretches.

Amazon, meanwhile, already has a stake in YES Network, the regional sports network that broadcasts New York Yankees and the New York Mets games.

Amazon declined to comment on rumors and speculation. A spokesperson for Diamond Sports Group wasn’t immediately available for comment.

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