Last week, Bally Sports Parent Company asked the judge overseeing its bankruptcy for permission not to pay the Arizona Coyotes contract. This will allow Bally Sports to end its TV contract with the company. This comes as Diamond Sports Group, the parent company of Bally Sports, says it would like to shut down the Bally Sports Arizona RSN after it lost rights to most of the sports teams on that channel. This comes as Bally Sports also asked the Judge to give them extra time to create a plan to get out of bankruptcy.
Now, MLB has come forward to object to Bally Sports’ request to delay its getting out of bankruptcy plan. MLB has also asked that Bally Sports decide now if it will renew its contracts with all 11 MLB teams as, according to MLB one team will soon be dropped by Bally Sports.
In a court filing MLB did on behalf of 11 teams today, MLB said:
Seven months—and the entire MLB 2023 regular season—later, the Debtors are no closer to addressing this concern or deciding whether Diamond Sports Group will reorganize or liquidate. The Debtors have requested extensions of exclusivity twice and the Debtors continue to shed telecast arrangements with teams across multiple leagues on an ad hoc and unexpected basis. The Debtors and certain non-Debtor affiliates began these chapter 11 cases with telecast arrangements with 14 MLB Clubs. As of the filing of this Motion, this number is down to 12 and will almost certainly drop to 11 at the conclusion of the postseason.
MLB says it worries that Bally Sports will reject TV deals with its teams with little warning. Now, they want deals in place to give them a clear idea of what will happen next year.
A spokesperson for Diamond Sports Group the parent company of Bally Sports, sent us the following statement. “Diamond disputes MLB’s misguided attempt to oppose a customary extension in a complex, multi-billion-dollar restructuring involving myriad stakeholders, with whom Diamond is making significant progress. Diamond is current in its rights payments and has satisfied its broadcasting obligations to all MLB teams under contract for the now concluded 2023 MLB regular season.”
This comes as Bally Sports needs to strike deals with multiple NBA and NHL teams. Just as the season is starting, some of these teams are still waiting for a long-term contract.
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 Pelicans have reportedly already been paid.)
The NHL teams that Bally Sports currently has contacts with are the Arizona Coyotes, 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.
Bally Sports will likely pay to keep most, if not all, of the teams. However, Bally Sports is reportedly hoping to reach a deal to reduce their payments to unprofitable teams or explore dropping them altogether.
Now, Bally Sports needs to wait for the Judge to approve the request, but Bally Spors partners at the MLB have already said they have back up plans in pale if a deal is not reached.