Tuesday, July 9, 2024

The Latest About Diamond Sports Is Not Good

Heading into a crucial restructuring hearing at the end of July, the news continues to trend south for bankrupt Diamond Sports Group.

NextTV.com reports the operator of the troubled Bally Sports regional sports networks initiated the loss of its second NHL franchise in a week on Wednesday, when it asked the court overseeing its bankruptcy to allow it to cut ties with the Dallas Stars, a linchpin tenant on Bally Sports Southwest, ahead of the upcoming 2024-25 NHL season.

"The Debtors also have been engaged in ongoing discussions with the NHL and the Stars regarding, among other things, the Stars Agreement and the parties’ go-forward relationships. During these discussions, the Stars requested that the parties mutually terminate the Stars Agreement in advance of the 2024–25 NHL season," Diamond said in its motion, filed Wednesday. 

Should the court grant the request, Diamond would be left with nine remaining NHL teams under the Bally Sports banner. 

Earlier this week, the Stanley Cup champion Florida Panthers announced they will not be returning to Bally Sports next season and instead will broadcast their games in over-the-air channels in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Fort Myers via a broadcast deal with Scripps Sports. 

The deal will cover most of the Panthers’ regular-season games and the first round of the playoffs. And a direct-to-consumer streaming service is also part of the plan. The move by the Florida franchise follows a similar one made by 2022-23 Stanley Cup winner the Vegas Golden Knights, who also fled the RSN business for a hybrid broadcast/DTC arrangement with Scripps Sports. 

Diamond Sports Group, the subsidiary set up by Sinclair Broadcast Group to manage the 19 Fox SportsNet RSNs in purchased in 2019 for $10.6 billion, filed for Chapter 11 protection in March 2023. In January, the unit appeared to turn the corner following what had seemed like certain liquidation. 

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