Today Bloomberg reported that it has confirmed that Disney, Apple, and Amazon have all held talks with the NBA to stream local in-market NBA. This comes as Bally Sports which is currently in bankruptcy, may lose more NBA TV rights.
At issue here is Diamond Sports Group, the parent company behind Bally Sports, requested an extension of the exclusivity period of 120 days to create a go-forward plan. Now the creditors want that time limited and want Bally Sports to finalize its talks with the NBA and NHL teams as part of its business plan in its Chapter 11 proceedings. If the creditors get their way, Bally Sports would need to finish talks with the NBA and NHL before the season starts.
Bally Sports needs to decide if it will pay NBA and NHL teams their full contracts or try to renegotiate unprofitable contracts. This is very similar to what we just went through with MLB teams, which resulted in two teams losing their TV deals with Bally Sports.
The NBA teams Bally Sports currently has contracts with 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.
If, like with the MLB, Bally Sports decides not to pay some of these MLB teams, it leaves the door open for Amazon, Apple, or Google to reach a deal to replace Bally Sports.
This could mean soon your local NBA team could be streaming on Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, or ESPN+. This would not be for a national feed that would remain with NBA League Pass but this would give locals that live in market an option to stream the games live online through one of these services.
There are also talks that other options are in play. DIRECTV has reportedly been interested in getting rights to these games. DIRECTV and Fubo have already offered streaming options for in-market games now that the Padres and Diamondbacks have left Bally Sports. It is possible that could once again happen if an NBA team needs a new TV home in a hurry.
The question now is will these talks happen before or after the start of the NBA season? We will have to wait and see what the judge rules.