DIRECTV and Bally Sports are locked in a legal fight over TV fees paid by DIRECTV for MLB teams that Bally Sports no longer offers. According to DIRECTV its contract with Bally Sports is forcing it to pay for MLB teams that the network no longer has rights to.
“The Diamond Parties seek payment of license fees in exchange for rights and games they failed to deliver. It would be inequitable to permit the Diamond Parties to enjoy a windfall by obtaining the fruits of performance when they did not perform or incur the costs of performance, while compelling DIRECTV to pay twice for the same games (once to the Diamond Parties and once to MLB).” DIRECTV said in a court filing that was first spotted by TVAnswerman.
This all comes as, DIRECTV is trying to get out of paying for several Bally Sports channels that no longer include live sports, including Bally Sports Arizona that has now shut down. In response to this, Bally Sports is asking its Bankruptcy Judge to force DIRECTV to pay the full price even though it no longer includes the live sporting events it offered when the contract was signed, including one channel, Bally Sports Arizona, that shut down last year and other channels that offer fewer sports teams now.
At issue here is the question of how much DIRECTV is obligated to pay for sports that are no longer offered by Bally Sports. Bally Sports wants that money to help it stay open at the same time, Bally Sports no longer offers these sporting events.
This comes as Bally Sports has already lost TV rights to the first major NBA team, the Suns, which cut ties with Bally Sports and is now going to make their games free over the air thanks to a partnership with Gray Television. Not only will the games be free over the air, but they will also be streamed to viewers in the market on the new Suns Live streaming service. With this deal starting this month, fans of the Phoenix Suns and the WNBA Phoenix Mercury will be able to watch the games for free over the air on KTVK and KPHE. With the expansion of KPHE, the Suns will now be free to watch over the air in all three of Arizona’s TV markets.
Now, Bally Sports needs to wait for the Judge to approve the request, but very soon, Bally Sports Arizona could shut down for good. This raises the question of what the Judge will do with DRECTV’s refusal to pay for the channel as he considers letting Bally Sports shut down that network. So far some of its partners are asking the Judge to reject a delay and others like DIRECTV are ok with the idea.
Next week Bally Sports and DIRECTV will have a court hearing to decide don’t the future of payments from DIRECTV. This case was originally going to happen earlier this month but was delayed until next week.