Saturday December 9, 2023

Bankruptcy Judge Approves NBA, Bally Sports Deal, But It’s Complicated

  • Under the plan, Bally Sports will carry NBA games through the end of 2023-24, when the media rights will revert to the league.
  • The NHL reportedly has a similar deal, but MLB and Sinclair Broadcasting Group are balking.
A view of a game ball and the Bally Sports logo on the stanchion post before the game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Orlando Magic at the American Airlines Center.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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On Wednesday, a federal bankruptcy approved a deal between the NBA and Diamond Sports Group to allow the latter’s Bally Sports to carry the league’s games through the end of the 2023-24 season before handing local media rights back to the league.

It’s the culmination of an agreement reached by the two sides earlier in November, and a similar deal between the NHL and DSG is expected to be approved as early as Friday, per Awful Announcing. Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed.

However, the ordeal might not be over just yet: MLB and Sinclair Broadcast Group — DSG’s parent — both motioned to object to the deals, as the baseball league is reportedly not happy with the terms of its proposed pact with DSG and does not want to feel pressured into signing it.

The NBA was operating under a Nov. 30 deadline to get a deal done, and the NHL may be as well. Assuming all the transactions come to pass — including MLB’s — Bally Sports will continue to televise games for all three leagues through 2024, after which the media rights will revert to their respective leagues.

It would appear to be the end times for regional sports networks — or at least for those attached to DSG — and sports teams are beginning to look to a future without them. The Minnesota Twins, Arizona Coyotes, and San Diego Padres are among the teams that have already cut ties.

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