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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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DSG’s Rejection Of Coyotes Completes Phoenix Sports TV Transformation

  • Judge allows bankrupt company to walk away from NHL team's rights
  • NHL finalizing alternate plan to air Coyotes' games locally
Jeff Le-USA TODAY Sports

Diamond Sports Group’s rejection of its regional rights to the Arizona Coyotes completes this year’s historic transformation of sports television in the 11th-largest U.S. media market.

On Thursday, the bankrupt parent of Bally Sports received approval from a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Texas to reject the NHL’s team local rights. The move has been increasingly anticipated since DSG’s similar dismissal of its Arizona Diamondbacks rights in July, leaving the Coyotes as the only remaining major pro team on Bally Sports Arizona.

“The debtors have concluded that the Coyotes agreement is not necessary to [its] business and is unlikely to provide a net benefit,” DSG said.

The NHL team’s situation closely follows not only MLB’s takeover of the Diamondbacks’ game production and distribution but a separate move by the Phoenix Suns and Mercury under new owner Mat Ishbia to walk away from the traditional regional sports network structure. The Suns and Mercury are now being aired locally on Gray Television and the Suns Live streaming platform — and have even been giving away TV antennas to fans to help boost their local footprint.

The NHL team has unsurprisingly supported DSG’s effort, as the Coyotes now have an opportunity to part from the financially troubled company. The team had been under contract with DSG through the 2024-25 season with upcoming rights fee payments due on Nov. 1 and Dec. 1.

New Plans Developing

The Coyotes moved quickly to strike a new deal with Scripps Sports to show its games over-the-air locally on the company’s Antenna TV network.

“This is a major win for us to be able to increase our reach and continue to grow the great game of hockey in the desert,” said Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo.

The DSG issue arrives as the Coyotes continue to seek a new arena and mixed-use development in the East Valley.

Bigger issues also continue to surround DSG: The company remains in pursuit of an extended deadline to file a formal reorganization plan. Originally due on Sept. 30, DSG has asked for a new date of Nov. 29.

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