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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Regional Sports Networks Throttle Sinclair’s Revenue During Quarter

  • Bankrupt Diamond Sports was the main driver of Sinclair's 40% total revenue dip in the first quarter.
  • Diamond Sports alleges the Suns, Mercury are in breach of contract over a new rights deal.
A phone displaying the Sinclair Broadcast Group logo is shown in front of the logo of their RSN brand, Bally Sports.

Sinclair’s first-quarter revenue cratered 40% as its bankrupt regional sports network subsidiary continues to drag down the broadcast giant. 

Sinclair reported $773 million in total revenue compared to nearly $1.3 billion during the same period last year. Excluding Diamond Sports Group, Sinclair’s total revenue dipped 7%. 

Sinclair’s quarterly net income was $185 million — nearly a 93% drop from 2022. 

Diamond Sports — which owns and manages 19 Bally Sports-branded RSNs — filed for bankruptcy protection in March as it sought to restructure $8 billion in debt. Sinclair purchased the RSNs for $9.6 billion in 2019. 

In the weeks since the bankruptcy filing, Diamond Sports has continued to broadcast live game coverage on deals with 14 MLB teams — even after missing payments to the Cleveland Guardians, Minnesota Twins, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, and Cincinnati Reds. 

A judge ordered Diamond Sports to pay the Guardians, Twins, Diamondbacks, and Rangers half the rights fees owed to the team. The Reds were also paid an unspecified amount. 

Suns, Mercury Deal Fallout

The Phoenix Suns and Mercury announced a new local broadcast setup with Gray Television and the streaming firm Kiswe to replace Bally Sports Arizona on Friday.

Diamond Sports claimed the right to match any offer in a court filing Wednesday, as the Suns deal remains active amid the team’s ongoing 2022-23 season. 

“The Suns, Gray, and Kiswe were undoubtedly aware … [of what] their actions would have on Diamond Arizona’s precarious financial circumstances,” a Diamond Sports lawyer wrote in the filing. 

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