My Atlanta Braves, Miami Heat and Florida Panthers are affected by this — and your team probably is too.
In what has to be one of the worst financial collapses in the history of sports media (if not the worst period), Diamond Sports Group — who manages Sinclair Broadcast Group’s 19 Bally Sports regional sports television networks — is reportedly filing for bankruptcy, according to Bloomberg.
Scheduled to make a $140 million interest-only payment in February, Diamond will skip that because of $8.6 billion of debt and is reportedly preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy that will liquefy the sports media empire that is valued around $55 billion, the outlet reported.
As a result, several professional sports teams (and we’re talking a crap load) who rely on revenue from TV deals are going to take a huge financial hit and will have to pull back their spending, potentially cutting payroll — especially considering that Diamond can terminate the deals whenever they want amid a restructuring.
The St. Louis Cardinals, for example, have been singled out as a franchise that will take one of the biggest hits, because a lot of their revenue comes from RSN television rights. Altogether, Bally Sports broadcasts 15 MLB teams, 17 NBA teams, 14 NHL teams, and several others as well.
New: America’s largest owner of local sports channels is heading toward bankruptcy court, putting at risk its payments to MLB, NBA and NHL teams. Story w/ @EK_Hudson @rachel_butt https://t.co/t0I8Bz01iA
— Gerry Smith (@gerryfsmith) January 25, 2023
My fandom can’t get too cut up about this because of so many sports teams being involved, so it is what it is there.
But what I am curious about is what did Diamond and Sinclair think was going to happen with burning so many bridges with streaming services?
I know how they agreed to a carriage deal last month with FuboTV in which they would carry the 19 RSNs, and when the original report came out, it was supposed to be a few weeks before the channels popped up on the platform — it’s been over four now, and still nothing — I just checked on Fubo’s website. And now we have this bankruptcy news.
They could have had a “better late than never” situation if they had just come to a deal earlier, or better yet, they would be nowhere near this predicament to begin with if they had gotten with the modern-day game. Dude, cable bills are expensive as heck, it’s far cheaper to use a streaming service, but for some reason Diamond and Sinclair didn’t get that. They wanted to stay exclusive to cable and it was their way or the highway. They were effective at locking out sports fans for years, but now the chickens have come home to roost. (RELATED: ‘Looked Like Some Jerk Off’: Bill Burr Has Had Just About Enough Of Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Nick Sirianni)
What a disaster. They resist streaming services for the longest time (like I said, years and years), and then when they finally do get a deal done, nothing happens — just bankruptcy news. This is so Bally Sports — the same Bally Sports where you can’t get the damn app to work. As far as I’m concerned, screw ’em.
I hope they get their karma, get taken out of business, and sports rights come to streaming services.