Diamond Sports Group Secures Agreements to Continue Broadcasting MLB Games

Diamond Sports Group, the bankrupt operator of Bally Sports-branded local sports channels, reached an agreement to continue broadcasting Cleveland Guardians, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers games during the upcoming Major League Baseball season.

Diamond said Friday’s agreements with the three MLB clubs avoid potential disruptions for fans and that the company will continue talks with the teams and the league as it develops a restructuring plan to prevent the broadcaster from closing.. The plan is backed by major debt holders Diamond and Amazon.com Inc.

The agreements shorten the duration of Diamond’s broadcast agreements with MLB clubs, which will now expire after the 2024 season, according to court documents. Diamond, a subsidiary of Sinclair Inc., also reinforced teams’ rights to receive refunds in Chapter 11 should the company default on the new agreements. The financial terms of the agreements were not publicly disclosed in court documents.

Last year, MLB had to step in to help broadcast San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks games after Diamond abandoned broadcast rights deals with those clubs after filing for bankruptcy. Diamond has said he loses money on some of his broadcast deals and attempted to use Chapter 11 to reduce the amounts he pays to certain clubs.

Diamond said Friday that the revised agreements will allow the company to profitably broadcast Guardians, Twins and Rangers games under a business plan that underpins his restructuring proposal. The company has already worked on similar deals with the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association. MLB agreements must be approved by Judge Christopher Lopez, who is overseeing Diamond’s Chapter 11 case.

We are pleased to have reached agreements with the Cleveland Guardians, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers that work for all parties and allow us to continue providing high-quality live game broadcasts on Bally Sports to dedicated fans through the 2024 season,” a Diamond spokesperson said.

Diamond filed for Chapter 11 last March and was at risk of liquidation before announcing it had reached a series of agreements to save the company from bankruptcy with the backing of Amazon. If enacted, the proposal would allow Diamond to emerge from Chapter 11 in a healthier financial position and make Amazon’s Prime Video platform its primary streaming partner, the company said.

Sinclair acquired Diamond from Walt Disney Co. in 2019 and struggled with substantial debt and pressure as more viewers canceled their cable subscriptions in favor of alternatives like digital streaming.

The bankruptcy case is Diamond Sports Group LLC, 23-90116, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Texas.

2024-02-05 08:00:56
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