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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Rejection of Diamondbacks’ Deal Leaves Bally Sports Arizona With Just Coyotes

  • Court approval of DSG deal rejection leaves local RSN with a single pro team
  • MLB will produce, distribute Diamondbacks games, as it is doing for the Padres
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Regional sports network Bally Sports Arizona is now down to just one major pro team.

On Tuesday, as expected, a Texas bankruptcy court judge approved a bid by Bally Sports and bankrupt parent Diamond Sports Group to reject their Arizona Diamondbacks rights deal. 

MLB will produce and distribute the team’s games starting Tuesday night, as it has been for the San Diego Padres. The league claims a 506% boost in local reach to about 5.6 million homes showing games on Cox, DirecTV, Spectrum, Xfinity, Fubo, and MLB.TV compared to prior distribution on Bally Sports Arizona.

“As we have done with the Padres, we will … work toward increasing access to better tell the story of the Diamondbacks,” said Billy Chambers, MLB EVP of local media.

With a minimum value of $1.5 billion and a term running through 2035, the Diamondbacks’ deal was a near-lock to be rejected without significant modifications, as DSG called it unprofitable. Talks toward a revised pact ended without agreement. MLB has pledged to backstop at least 80% the affected fees.

DSG’s move leaves Bally Sports Arizona with only one big-league team, the Arizona Coyotes. An NHL team — particularly one with just a single postseason appearance in the last decade — isn’t typically enough to carry an RSN, and the Coyotes also are battling arena instability.

The Phoenix Suns and Mercury left the RSN last week for a new deal with Gray Television and Kiswe, while early this year, the USL’s Phoenix Rising opted to sign an agreement with Arizona’s Family Sports and Entertainment instead of renewing with Bally.

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