Last week, The New York Post reported that a deal had been reached between Comcast and DIRECTV to extend Bally Sports’ contracts with the pay-TV providers. Cord Cutters News has since independently confirmed the news. Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that Diamond Sports, the parent company behind Bally Sports, also hopes to strike deals to return to YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV.
“We will continue to deliver these channels under our existing agreement and will work with Bally’s and the MLB, NBA, and NHL to ensure fans who want to watch will be able to do so,” a DIRECTV spokesperson said in an email to Cord Cutters News.
Bally Sports’ parent company, Diamond Sports Group, is in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings and must lock down some major deals to ensure its future before the court-ordered deadline for a go forward plan. Bally Sports is reportedly hoping new deals with streaming services like YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV would help make the channel profitable again.
Bally Sports was once carried by both YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV but was dropped when the services could not agree on a price. Bally Sports would likely need to come up with a very favorable deal to YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV for the channel to return. The question now is will Bally Sports be willing to strike a deal at a price that will see it return to some of the largest live TV streaming services.
The big problem for Bally Sports right now are reports that the channel may not make it out of bankruptcy. The New York Post cited multiple sources that say Bally Sports will shut down next year after it makes some more money from its profitable contracts. This is possible if NBA and NHL teams take up to a 20% cut in TV rights fees. The teams are reportedly open to doing this if it means securing another year on the network. Bally Sports reportedly needs to start making payments to some teams as soon as Sunday.
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 left.)
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.
The sports channel might drop some of the more unprofitable teams if a deal isn’t reached. Time is running our for Bally Sports to decided who it will pay and who it may want to cancel its contracts with.