Today was going to be a big deal for the MLB and Bally Sports as the two sides had a court hearing to finalize TV rights to air the 2024 season. According to MLB’s lawyer, Bally Sports, a recent deal to take an investment from Amazon in exchange for moving its streaming service to Prime Video was a surprise that MLB knew nothing about.
With this deal, Amazon will become a minority investor in Diamond Sports, the owner of Bally Sports. This deal will see Amazon become the new home of Bally Sports streaming for direct-to-consumer packages.
The deal with Amazon will let Americans buy live access to MLB, NBA, and NHL games through Amazon’s Prime Video channels. This offer is only good for customers who live inside the markets these teams play with.
“We are thrilled to have reached a comprehensive restructuring agreement that provides a detailed framework for a reorganization plan and substantial new financing that will enable Diamond to operate and thrive beyond 2024. We are grateful for the support from Amazon and a group of our largest creditors who clearly believe in the value-creating potential of this business. Diamond’s near-term focus will be on implementing the RSA and emerging from bankruptcy as a going concern for the benefit of our investors, our employees, our team, league and distribution partners, and the millions of fans who will continue to enjoy our broadcasts.” Said David Preschlack, CEO of Diamond Sports.
The only problem with all of this is that the judge overseeing the bankruptcy needs to agree on this deal. Now, it’s unknown if MLB will agree to these terms or try to fight them, putting Bally Sports 2024 MLB season in jeopardy. According to the MLB lawyer in a The Athletic story, “We are digesting an enormous amount of information…until yesterday we were operating w/the assumption that we were mediating…and nearing conclusion.”
Part of this deal with Amazon is Bally Sports’ parent company, Diamond Sports Group, pushing to lock sports teams into their long-term contracts. This would mean Bally Sports would keep its NBA and NHL TV rights after the end of the current seasons. This comes after months of speculation that Bally Sports would shut down after the 2024 MLB season this new investment from Amazon and money from Sinclair brings new hope the channels will continue on. The question now is how happy the NBA, NHL, and MLB will be with this new partnership.