Diamond Sports Group, operator of Bally Sports networks, files for Chapter 11

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Diamond Sports Group, a Sinclair Broadcast Group subsidiary that operates 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday.

Previously, Diamond had missed a $140 million interest payment due Feb. 15.

In a statement, Diamond said it had $425 million on hand, and that it plans to keep the Bally Sports networks on the air during the bankruptcy-imposed restructuring, which will help clear over $8 billion in debt.

Diamond will also be spun off out of Sinclair as part of its bankruptcy proceedings.

The Bally Sports networks carry 16 National Basketball Association teams, 14 Major League Baseball teams, and 12 National Hockey League teams. The teams airing on Bally Sports are:

• Arizona: The Diamondbacks (MLB), the Phoenix Suns (NBA), and the Coyotes (NHL).

• Detroit: The Tigers (MLB), the Red Wings (NHL), and the Pistons (NBA).

• Miami: The Marlins (MLB), Heat (NBA), and the Florida Panthers (NHL).

• Tampa Bay: The Lightning (NHL) and the Rays (MLB).

• Ohio: The Cleveland Guardians (MLB), the Cincinnati Reds (MLB), the Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL), and the Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA).

• St. Louis: The Blues (NHL) and the Cardinals (MLB).

• Minnesota: The Wild (NHL), the Twins (MLB), and the Timberwolves (NBA).

• Milwaukee: The Bucks (NBA) and the Brewers (MLB).

• Los Angeles: The Clippers (NBA), the Angels (MLB), the Kings (NHL), and the Anaheim Ducks (NHL).

• Dallas: The Stars (NHL), the Mavericks (NBA), and the Texas Rangers (MLB).

• Atlanta: The Braves (MLB) and the Hawks (NBA).

• Tennessee: The Nashville Predators (NHL) and Memphis Grizzlies (NBA).

• North Carolina: The Carolina Hurricanes (NHL) and Charlotte Hornets (NBA).

• The San Antonio Spurs (NBA).

• The Orlando Magic (NBA).

• The San Diego Padres (MLB).

• The New Orleans Pelicans (NBA).

• The Kansas City Royals (MLB).

• The Indiana Pacers (NBA).

• The Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA).

While Diamond is current on payments to its NHL and NBA teams, it still owes nearly $1 billion in rights payments, most of which is to MLB teams, for the first quarter of FY 2023, according to the Associated Press. 

The NBA and NHL regular seasons are approaching their end, whereas the MLB regular season begins on March 30.

Payments to baseball teams may be withheld as the company attempts to renegotiate their deals with the San Diego Padres, Cleveland Guardians, and Cincinnati Reds. Diamond has not yet paid for the rights to the Arizona Diamondbacks. 

In the event that Bally baseball broadcasts cannot continue, MLB has an infrastructure in place to take over local broadcasts. Games would air on the MLB Network cable channel or stream on MLB.tv.

“Despite Diamond’s economic situation, there is every expectation that they will continue televising all games they are committed to … MLB is ready to produce and distribute games in their local markets in the event that Diamond or any other regional sports network is unable to do so as required by their agreement with our clubs,” MLB said in a statement.

In comments made during NBA All-Star weekend in February, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said “And if they were to indeed, you know, file for bankruptcy, there won’t be that much of the regular season left. For that period of time, we will have in place arrangements, if necessary, to continue to distribute those games to fans.”





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