For months, the bankruptcy of Bally Sports has raised one question: Will it even survive? A growing number of local ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC broadcasters appear to be rooting for its failure so they can become the new home of the teams that currently air on Bally Sports.
Joining this list of broadcasters is TEGNA, which today launched a new website to promote its local sports. In a statement on its website, TEGNA said it is “working closely with partners across the country to reshape the future of sports distribution to make games available to every fan, in every household.”
TEGNA is one of the largest owners of local TV stations and joins a growing list of local broadcasters who want to offer NBA, NHL, and MLB games free on broadcast TV.
Other broadcasters have already joined this fight, including Scripps, Gray, and more. A handful of teams, including the Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, Las Vegas Golden Knights, and more, have ditched their RSNs to offer their games free on broadcast TV.
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 NHL teams that Bally Sports currently has contacts with are the 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 MLB teams that Bally Sports currently has contracts with are the Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, Cleveland Guardians, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, Minnesota Twins, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angles Angels, Atlanta Braves, Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays, and Milwaukee Brewers.
Scripps recently said it has reached deals with several teams to air games free on broadcast TV if Bally Sports drops them. It has also been reported that other networks like Gray have done the same. This will likely see many, but not all, teams move to free over-the-air TV networks for in-market games.
Gray Television recently released a presentation to investors that said it expects to get even more from cable TV bills going forward thanks to the death of RSNs. According to the presentation, the company is counting on more professional sports moving to local TV stations as RSNs shut down. Gray hopes this shift will allow it to charge cable TV companies even more money driving up revenues for local broadcasters.
The question now is if Bally Sports survives and if it does, will it come out with all the same teams it currently has? Already, MLB has said it expects Bally Sports to cancel one of its teams’ contracts after this season ends.