• Loading stock data...
Friday, June 21, 2024

Bankruptcy Judge Blocks Suns New Rights Deal

  • The Suns and Mercury entered into deals Gray Television and the streaming firm Kiswe last month.
  • Diamond Sports filed for bankruptcy in March looking to restructure about $8 billion in debt.
Phoenix-Suns
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

A bankruptcy judge blocked the rollout of a new broadcast pact the Phoenix Suns announced two weeks ago.

Judge Christopher Lopez on Wednesday voided the TV and streaming pact the Suns and Mercury entered into to replace their current Diamond Sports Group’s deal. In a written ruling after a Wednesday hearing, Lopez wrote the deal “violated the automatic stay” in Diamond Sports’ bankruptcy case.

“The Suns shall continue to perform and comply with their obligations under the agreement [with Diamond Sports] in all respects,” Lopez wrote.

CNBC was the first outlet to report Lopez’s decision.

“The Phoenix Suns and Mercury are excited to continue giving our fans everything they want for the best possible experience and making our games accessible to everyone,” Josh Bartelstein, CEO of the Suns and Mercury, said in a statement to Front Office Sports. “We are committed to working collaboratively on a fair resolution that will be in the best interest of our fans, our community, and our players.”

On April 28, the Suns and Mercury unveiled their replacement for Diamond Sports’ Bally Sports Arizona with Gray Television and the streaming firm Kiswe — a unique setup amid the precipitous decline of regional sports networks due to cord-cutting. 

Diamond Sports almost immediately called the move “an improper effort by the Suns to change their broadcasting partner without permitting Diamond to exercise our contractual rights.”

Lopez wrote in his order the decision “does not affect” the Mercury’s deal with and Gray Television/Kiswe. But for the deal to move forward, a deal would need to first be reached with Diamond Sports.

Diamond Sports filed for bankruptcy in March looking to restructure about $8 billion in debt. Diamond Sports became the local broadcast partner for the Suns when Diamond’s parent company, Sinclair, acquired the former Fox Sports RSNs in 2019. 

Lawyers for the Suns argued in court filings that the current deal expired at the end of the regular season. Diamond Sports disagreed as it countered that it still has the right to refuse any new deal first. 

A message left with a Suns spokesperson was not immediately returned. 

The new deal will commence with the start of the WNBA season. The Mercury’s first regular season game is May 19.

Correction: The original version of the story mischaracterized the impact of the judge’s decision on the Mercury.

Linkedin
Whatsapp
Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Leagues’ Disclosure Demands Add Complexity to DSG’s Bankruptcy Exit

The bankrupt regional sports network operator makes an emergency motion for a discovery conference.
Sponsored

How HOKA is Reimagining the NIL Relationship

HOKA, the renowned athletic footwear and apparel brand, is betting on a new reality with NIL.
Sponsored

How Duracell is Making Fans Fall in Love with F1 Racing

Nobody expected this household brand to become F1’s newest darling.

MLB Weighs Media Overhaul As Manfred Deals With DSG Turmoil

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred criticizes all the key facets of DSG’s bankruptcy reorganization plan.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

How Women’s Sports Media is Charting Its Own Path

0:00

Featured Today

Jan 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; General view of the NFL shield logo signage before the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.

Odds Stacked Against NFL in Multibillion-Dollar Sunday Ticket Trial

Why the class action trial does not look promising for the league.
Jan 7, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter (11) takes a three-point shot against the Golden State Warriors during the second half at Chase Center.
June 9, 2024

‘Bound to Happen’: The Age of the Sports Betting Scandal Has Arrived

A banishment, betting scheme, and guilty plea all in one scandal-filled span.
June 8, 2024

‘Experimental in Nature’: The Rapid, Confounding Rise of Streaming Bundles

Here’s why confusion continues to outweigh solutions in the streaming package boom.
June 2, 2024

The Nostalgia Market: Michael Jordan’s Memorabilia Remains Coveted, With Caveats

Due to scarcity, and sometimes, items’ undisclosed whereabouts, this world has limitations.

TV Companies Losing Subscribers As Sports Rights Deals Continue to Rise

Four major TV provider companies reported huge losses.
June 18, 2024

Caitlin Clark Continues to be Enormous Box Office for the WNBA

Sunday’s Fever-Sky game was the most-watched WNBA broadcast in 23 years.
June 20, 2024

The NFL Could Be the Key to Stephen A. Smith’s ESPN Future

Can Stephen A. Smith become the next Howard Cosell?
Sponsored

How HOKA is Reimagining the NIL Relationship

HOKA, the renowned athletic footwear and apparel brand, is betting on a new reality with NIL.
June 18, 2024

Roger Goodell Rips ‘Below Standard’ NFL Network Broadcasts in Trial Testimony

The commissioner testified in federal court that NFL Network was subpar.
June 18, 2024

ESPN’s Up-and-Down NBA Season Ends With Finals to Forget

The Finals are set to stay on ESPN through 2036.
June 17, 2024

Why U.S. Soccer Fans Can’t Watch Some Euro 2024 Games on Cable

The small number of matches are exclusively on the expensive streamer.
June 17, 2024

Charles Barkley’s ‘Retirement’ Could Be Last-Ditch Power Play

Barkley has always proved himself to be a master negotiator.