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Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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DSG Plans To Retain NBA, NHL Rights This Season In Reorganization Effort

  • Clarity achieved, but RSN operator's NBA rights to revert to teams, league
  • DSG suggests it could keep vast majority of remaining MLB rights
Diamond Sports Group

There will be at least a momentary pause in the rights chaos surrounding Diamond Sports Group. 

The bankrupt company said Monday that it intends to retain its remaining NBA and NHL team rights through the 2023-24 season as it continues its reorganization.

After the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, and Arizona Coyotes pursued their own local broadcast strategies and numerous other teams developed contingency plans amid DSG’s ongoing issues, the company told a U.S. bankruptcy court in Texas on Monday that it intends to keep its remaining 15 NBA teams and 11 NHL teams through the current season. 

The stance is part of a newly filed cooperation agreement DSG has filed with the court, one intended to be an important interim step in completing a Chapter 11 reorganization. The agreement follows court-ordered mediation and involves several of DSG’s key lenders.

But there is a big condition: All the NBA team local rights in question will revert back to the league and those teams following the 2023-24 season. This subsequently opens up the possibility for an unprecedented co-selling of national and local rights in that league’s next set of domestic media rights. A similar deal is in development with the NHL.

The agreement remains subject to court approval.

An additional and notable condition in the agreement involves DSG selling its minority equity stakes in the New York Yankees’ YES Network and Chicago Cubs’ Marquee Network, with proceeds going to unsecured creditors.

Baseball Clues

The latest filing also provides new clues regarding DSG’s plans for the 2024 MLB season. After league commissioner Rob Manfred recently renewed his call for clarity on the matter, DSG said it has “determined which MLB team agreements the debtors may retain, subject to further discussions with the applicable teams, and recently have identified these teams to MLB.”

Those teams have not yet been publicly disclosed, but during a Monday status conference in the bankruptcy proceedings, DSG said it intends to keep 10 of the 12 teams in question and is working on solidifying plans with the other two. 

After taking over the production and distribution of the San Diego Padres’ and Arizona Diamondbacks’ broadcasts in 2023, Manfred said the league could assume a similar role for as many as 16 teams next year. But if this DSG plan comes to fruition, nothing close to that will be required. 

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