Bally Sports, the regional sports network trying to work its way out of bankruptcy, and last month a last minute offer by Amazon to take over streaming rights of MLB games could have help. Now though MLB has reported rejected a proposed $150 million deal that would have seen Amazon take over streaming of MLB games from Bally Sports. This is ahead of Bally Spots’ court hearing tomorrow with MLB over its TV contract.
Amazon reportedly was in talks to invest in Bally Sports’ parent, Diamond Sports Group, in a deal that could have the network’s games onto the online retail giant’s streaming service, according to The Wall Street Journal. Bally Sports has deals with several NBA teams, and is working out a deal with the MLB that would take it through the end of the 2024 season. This deal is headed to court to day as the both sides reportedly had a frame work of a deal to keep MLB games on Bally Sports through the 2024 season. It’s also still in discussions with the NHL to carry the games of some of its teams as well.
Now according to the New York Post, this deal was rejected by Bally Sports, leaving many to wonder what kind of deal MLB and Bally Sports will reach.
Diamond Sports Group is still going through a number of hearings and has asked for an extension to May to file its bankruptcy exist plans. An influx of cash could allow the company to survive, with both the MLB and former parent Sinclair Broadcasting, having previously expressed the belief it would shut down in 2024.
On Friday, Diamond Sports Group got a reprieve when a bankruptcy court dismissed Sinclair’s motion seeking an immediate repayment of $147 million in management services. It also pushed back a decision on the MLB’s request for Diamond Sports Group to make a call on their media rights agreement.
Earlier in 2023, Bally Sports sued Sinclair, alleging it had overcharged the regional sports network for those management services and profited from the business at the expense of parent Diamond Sports Group. Sinclair had claimed it was giving Bally Sports a discount on its service.
Bally Sports was formed from the spin-off of then regional Fox Sports networks as part of Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s movie and television assets. But the regional sports networks, run under Sinclair, struggled to turn a profit amid a rise in cord cutting and the 2020 pandemic, which took games off the air for long stretches.
A spokesperson for Diamond Sports Group wasn’t immediately available for comment.
Correction: We updated our story to correctly list the date of the court hearing as tomorrow January 10, 2024.