Last week the NBA Suns and the WNBA Mercury announced a deal with Gray Television that would put both teams’ games on broadcast TV and streaming for free online. Previously both teams had deals with the RSN Bally Sports. Now Bally Sports says this deal breaks their contract and violates bankruptcy law.
A statement made by Bally Sports’ parent company, Diamond Sports, about this new streaming deal, said:
“The Phoenix Suns breached our contract and violated bankruptcy law, and Diamond Sports Group will pursue all remedies against any parties that attempt to exercise control over our property interests while we reorganize. This is an improper effort by the Suns to change their broadcasting partner without permitting Diamond to exercise our contractual rights.”
At issue here is the contract the Suns and Mercury have with Bally Sports. Diamond Sports feels like they should have had an opportunity to counter the Gray Television offer or maybe even to use the bankruptcy court to block the deal.
Now Bally Sports parent company Diamond Sports which is owned by Sincalir has filed a lawsuit against the NBA and WNBA teams.
“The Suns’ failure to comply with their contractual duties, and Diamond Arizona’s potential loss of approximately 70 games of NBA content provided by the Suns each season, puts Diamond Arizona’s business at significant peril, thereby directly threatening its ability to reorganize,” Sincalir’s Diamond Sports Group wrote in the emergency motion for a stay. “The Suns’ deliberate disregard of its contractual duties to Diamond Arizona is specifically the type of action the automatic stay is meant to protect against,”
The question now is will Bally Sports try to block this deal in court and prevent the Suns from streaming their games online and airing them on Broadcast TV. Bally Sports believes its contract should have allowed them to match any offer made by a 3rd party now that its contract with these teams is coming to an end.
Now though we will have to wait and see how this lawsuit plays out.
Previously it had been reported that the NBA has an out in its contract related to Bally Sports bankruptcy. NBA new streaming deal with Diamond Sports allows the NBA to take back its rights if Diamond Sports declares bankruptcy, according to Sports Business Journal. This would mean 16 NBA teams could start streaming their games in-market or resell the rights to a different company.
For now, though, most NBA Teams have been willing to keep working with Sinclair’s Diamond Sports company, the owner of Bally Sports. The Suns, at this time, is the only team to try and leave their contract with Bally Sports.