Bally Sports Parent Company petitioned the bankruptcy judge last week for permission not to pay the Arizona Coyotes contract.

This will enable Bally Sports to terminate its television contract with the company. This comes as Diamond Sports Group, Bally Sports’ parent firm, has stated that it would seek to close the Bally Sports Arizona RSN after losing rights to the majority of the sports teams on that channel. This comes after Bally Sports requested the Judge for more time to devise a plan to exit bankruptcy.

MLB has now objected to Bally Sports’ desire to postpone its bankruptcy exit strategy. MLB has also requested that Bally Sports decide whether or not to renew its contracts with all 11 MLB teams, as one team will be dropped by Bally Sports soon.

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MLB stated in a court filing today on behalf of 11 teams:

Seven months and the full MLB 2023 regular season later, the Debtors are still no closer to resolving this issue or choosing if Diamond Sports Group will reorganize or liquidate. The Debtors have requested exclusive extensions twice, and they continue to make ad hoc and unexpected television arrangements with teams from multiple leagues. These chapter 11 proceedings were initiated by the Debtors and certain non-Debtor affiliates with telecast agreements with 14 MLB Clubs. This number is down to 12 as of the filing of this Motion and will almost definitely decrease to 11 at the end of the postseason.

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MLB is concerned that Bally Sports will abruptly reject TV arrangements with its teams. They now want agreements in place to give them a clear picture of what will happen next year.

A spokeswoman for Diamond Sports Group, Bally Sports’ parent business, emailed us the following comment. “Diamond rejects MLB’s misguided attempt to obstruct a customary extension in a complex, multibillion-dollar restructuring involving a plethora of stakeholders, with whom Diamond is making significant progress.” Diamond is current on its rights payments and has fulfilled its broadcasting obligations to all MLB teams for the now-completed 2023 MLB regular season.”

This comes at a time when Bally Sports needs to reach agreements with various NBA and NHL teams. Some of these teams are still without a long-term deal as the season begins.

The Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks, and San Antonio Spurs are the NBA teams with which Bally Sports currently has contracts. Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat. (According to reports, the Pelicans have already been compensated.)

The Arizona Coyotes, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Columbus Blue Jackets, Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators, Dallas Stars, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Los Angeles Kings are the NHL teams with which Bally Sports currently has communication.

Bally Sports will very certainly pay to keep the most, if not all, of the teams. However, Bally Sports is apparently aiming to achieve an agreement to lower or eliminate payments to unprofitable teams.

Now, Bally Sports must wait for the Judge to grant the request, but Bally Sports’ MLB partners have already stated that they have backup plans in place if an agreement cannot be made.


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