Due to the uncertainty of Bally Sports’ future, many sports teams are preparing backup plans to make sure their games will still reach fans. A number of teams have reportedly signed contingency deals with Scripps Sports, the sports division of broadcasting company E.W. Scripps, according to Broadcasting + Cable’s NextTV.
“We’ve been able to advance discussions about contingency plans all the way to actually written contracts that if Bally were to go away, we have agreements already in place that we would be the partner to be able to take over distribution and production and begin immediately,” Brian Lawlor, Scripps Sports president, said told NextTV.
Just last week, the Arizona Coyotes said they were breaking from Bally after striking a multi-year deal with Scripps Sports. The NHL team’s games will air on Antenna TV on Channel 15.2 (KNXV.2), and on channel 85 on Cox.
Bally’s parent company, Diamond Sports, has been embroiled in bankruptcy proceedings this year. Prior to the Coyotes’ split, Diamond asked the judge overseeing the bankruptcy for permission not to pay the Arizona Coyotes contract. If the judge had granted the request, it would’ve been possible to shut down Bally Sports Arizona.
Last week, Bally Sports said its Florida-based Bally Sports Sun local station will broadcast 71 Lightning games during the 2023-24 NHL season – a potential lifeline for both Bally and its parent company.
Bally is also waiting to hear whether the judge granted its request to extend its deadline to lay out a reorganization plan. In the meantime, the company is reportedly courting potential partnerships with services like YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV.
The regional sports network needs to secure major deals to ensure its future. Bally reached a deal between Comcast and DIRECTV late last month to extend its contracts with the pay-TV providers, but it’s still not enough to guarantee its survival in the turbulent financial conditions.