Once again, Bally Sports is facing the real risk of losing TV rights to sports teams if a deal is not reached soon with the NHL. This summer, Bally Sports lost rights to two MLB teams, with the Padres and Diamondbacks both not being paid. They have also lost to the NBA Phoenix Suns recently as the team decided not to renew their TV contract with Bally Sports and instead will now broadcast their games for free on over-the-air TV with Gray Television.
Today during a bankruptcy hearing for Diamond Sports Group, the parent company of Bally Sports, the judge granted them an extra 80 days to finish their go-forward plan. This plan is meant to show the court how Bally Sports will keep operating in the future. Now the NHL has warned the court that while they have had talks with Bally Sports, they may come back to the court soon and “ask for relief on short notice.” This comes according to a report from Sportico.
If the NHL fails to reach a deal soon, they are likely to follow MLB’s lead and demand that Bally Sports TV rights be terminated.
In a statement to Cord Cutters News, a Diamond Sports Group spokesperson said, “We are in ongoing discussions with our team and league partners about paths forward and are engaged in renewal discussions regarding the two distribution agreements that are up this year. Our goal is to continue producing and broadcasting games for all teams in our portfolio.”
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 losing their TV deals with Bally Sports.
The NBA teams Bally Sports currently has contracts with 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 the Arizona Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, St. Lous 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 drop them altogether.
The 2023 NBA season will start on October 24th, 2023. This is likely the date the NBA would likely want a deal done by for all of its teams. The NBA did not appear in today’s court hearing.
The 2023 NHL season will start on October 10th, 2023, a date that it would likely hope to reach a deal with Bally Sports.
For now, we will have to wait and see what happens. Much like with the MLB, both sides would like to reach a deal. Now the question is, will they be able to do so?