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 the court-ordered deadline of September 30, 2023. Now, the New York Post is reporting that Bally Sports could shut down next year after it pays back some of its creditors.
Bally Sports is facing multiple deadlines this weekend. First, it must pay several NHL and NBA teams. Next, its contract with DIRECTV and Comcast is coming up for renewal.
Now, according to the New York Post, multiple sources have said that Bally Sports will shut down next year, but not until it makes some money from its more profitable contracts. To do this, it is being reported that Bally Sports wants NBA and NHL teams to take up to a 20% cut in TV rights fees. This is something that the teams are reportedly open to doing in order to get one more year on the network. Bally Sports reportedly needs to start making payments to some teams as soon as October 1st.
It is also being reported that Comcast and DIRECTV have agreed to an extension to keep Bally Sports on their networks.
Back in August 2023, DIRECTV made a filing to the judge overseeing the bankruptcy of Bally Sports’ parent company, Diamond Sports in response to a requested delay in a go-forward business plan. In that filing, DIRECTV announced its contract with Bally Sports ended this year and that it is looking to pay less going forward as Bally Sports has lost several MLB teams recently.
In the filing, DIRECTV is asking Bally Sports for an “immediate rate relief” of what it is paying now that Bally Sports no longer carries the Padrees and the Diamondbacks. In short, DIRECTV has made it clear they will not pay more for Bally Sports and wants to reduce what they are already paying. DIRECTV is arguing that since Bally Sports lost several MLB teams, DIRECTV should not be paying the same amount they did when these teams aired on Bally Sports.
It is unknown what deal Comcast and DIRECTV reached with Bally Sports, but reportedly, a deal has been reached.
Now, Bally Sports must pay 14 NBA teams to keep their TV rights. These payments are expected to happen on October 1 or November 1, 2023. According to the report, the average fee owed to each team is about $40 million. If Bally Sports wants to keep all of the teams, it will have to pay about $560 million, though that is reportedly to be paid in installments over the season. (It is being reported that the Pelicans have already been paid, leaving 14 teams still to be paid.)
According to the New York Posts report, Bally Sports may drop some unprofitable teams to focus on more profitable ones if a deal is not reached as it tries to earn some money to pay back creditors. The NBA is reportedly ready to stream games in markets Bally Sports drops.
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 Pelicans have reportedly already been paid.)
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 reportedly hoping to reach a deal to reduce their payments to unprofitable teams or explore dropping them altogether.