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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Phoenix Suns, Mercury Move Forward With Gray Television Deal

  • Diamond Sports Group, owner of Bally Sports Arizona, reportedly failed to make an offer to match Gray’s TV deal.
  • Suns and Mercury games will air for free on Gray’s Arizona channels and Kiswe’s streaming service.
Diamond Sports Group, owner of Bally Sports Arizona, did not offer to match Gray’s TV deal.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns and Mercury are moving forward with its Gray Television deal after its incumbent regional rights holder Diamond Sports Group didn’t make an offer to continue broadcasting games on Bally Sports Arizona. 

A bankruptcy judge in May blocked the Suns’ agreement with Gray Television and streaming provider Kiswe because it violated the team’s obligations with Diamond Sports, which filed for bankruptcy in March and has missed paying rights fee payments for its regional sports networks. Sinclair, Diamond’s parent company, bought 19 RSNs from Fox Sports in 2019 and rebranded them as Bally Sports Networks. 

The Suns’ new deal with Gray Television and Kiswe is for up to five years, while sister WNBA team Phoenix Mercury have a two-year deal, according to the Arizona Republic. More than 2.8 million fans in Arizona will have access to watch Suns and Mercury games for free via Gray’s KTVK, KPHO, and KPHE TV station and Kiswe’s new streaming service. 

“Making Suns and Mercury games available to all our fans across the state, for free, was extremely important to us,” Suns owner Mat Ishbia said in a statement. “It was a major priority and we got it done for our fans. We are excited about this for our fans.”

Diamond Sports Group had first right refusal to match Gray and Kiswe’s media offer, but did not submit an offer before the deadline passed. Sinclair’s bankruptcy has disrupted regional distribution across sports, as MLB seized control of San Diego Padres broadcasts in May following Diamond’s failure to make rights payments. However, MLB commissioner Rob Mandred said this week that teams have collected 94% of 2023 rights fees owed by Diamond.

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