The Bally Sports logo and a basketball displayed on a phone screen is shown in this illustrative photo… [+] taken in Krakow, Poland on December 1, 2022. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Only Photo via Getty Images
Diamond Sports Group, the owner of 21 regional sports networks operating under the Bally Sports name, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last week. These networks have the rights to 42 professional teams, including the Dallas Mavericks.
The filing in the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas comes after the group missed a $140 million interest payment last month. Diamond expects to continue day-to-day operations at all of its RSNs while it works to restructure and eliminate $8.67 billion in debt and form a separate company from Sinclair Broadcast Group SBGI.
“DSG will continue to broadcast matches and connect fans across the country to the sports and teams they love,” Diamond Sports CEO David Preschlack said in a statement. “We look forward to working constructively with our team and league partners, as well as all DSG stakeholders, throughout this process and beyond.”
Nothing is changing for now for fans who want to watch the Mavericks play the remainder of the regular season and the first round of the NBA Playoffs on Bally Sports Southwest. ABC, ESPN and TNT have exclusive NBA playoff rights after the first round.
While Mavericks games continue to air on Bally, many fans still don’t have access to the network. Bally Sports Southwest is still not available on YouTube TV, Hulu Live, Dish, Sling TV and other popular streaming services. For cord cutters, DirecTV Stream and FuboTV are the only streaming providers running the network in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Access issues for fans prompted Mavericks Governor Mark Cuban to partner with DirecTV Stream and offer a discounted service in November 2021. Cuban arranged for the first 10,000 new DirecTV Stream subscribers who signed up for a Choice package or higher to receive a $50 per month credit for each month of maintained service for up to five months.
The offer did not carry over to the 2022-23 NBA season.
Overall, the NBA has remained relatively calm about the financial woes of its biggest television partner. The league reportedly renewed its deal with Diamond Sports Group to stream 16 of its teams locally on streaming service Bally Sports+. The agreement runs through the 2024-25 season and consists of a series of one-year contracts with more than a dozen terms Diamond must meet.
Sinclair bought the regional sports networks that would become Bally Sports from The Walt Disney DIS Co. for nearly $10 billion in 2019. The Justice Department ordered Disney to sell the networks as part of the approval process for acquiring 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets.
Source : www.forbes.com