A Major Sports Television Empire Is About To Go Totally Belly Up…
According to Bloomberg, Diamond Sports Group, which manages Sinclair Broadcast Group’s 19 Bally Sports regional sports television networks, is filing for bankruptcy in what has to be one of the worst financial collapses in sports media history (if not the worst period).
Diamond is scheduled to make a $140 million interest-only payment in February, but will skip it due to $8.6 billion in debt and is reportedly preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which will liquefy the sports media empire, which is worth around $55 billion, according to the outlet.
As a result, several professional sports teams (and we’re talking a lot) that rely on revenue from TV deals are going to take a huge financial hit and will have to cut back on spending, potentially cutting payroll — especially since Diamond can terminate the deals at any time during a restructuring.
The St. Louis Cardinals, for example, have been singled out as a franchise that will take one of the biggest hits because RSN television rights account for a large portion of their revenue. In total, Bally Sports broadcasts 15 MLB teams, 17 NBA teams, 14 NHL teams, and a few others.
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
Because so many sports teams are involved, my fandom can’t get too worked up about it, so it is what it is.
What I’m curious about is what Diamond and Sinclair expected to happen by burning so many bridges with streaming services.
I know they agreed to a carriage deal with FuboTV last month to carry the 19 RSNs, and when the original report came out, it was supposed to be a few weeks before the channels appeared on the platform — it’s been over four weeks now, and nothing — I just checked Fubo’s website. And now we have the news of the bankruptcy.
They could have had a “better late than never” situation if they had just reached an agreement sooner, or better yet, they would not have been in this situation in the first place if they had gotten with the modern game.
Dude, cable bills are ridiculously expensive; it’s far cheaper to use a streaming service, but Diamond and Sinclair didn’t get that. They wanted to keep cable exclusive, and it was their way or the highway. For years, they were effective at keeping sports fans out, but the chickens have come home to roost.
What a calamity. They resisted streaming services for the longest time (years and years), and when they finally reached an agreement, nothing happened — just bankruptcy news. This is so Bally Sports — the same Bally Sports where the damn app won’t work. Screw ’em, as far as I’m concerned.
I hope they get their karma and go out of business, and that sports rights become available on streaming services.