Several professional teams could find themselves in a special situation in the coming weeks. The largest regional broadcasting network in the United States, Bally Sports, is experiencing significant financial problems.
Diamond Sports Group, the owner of the 20 channels, was unable to make a $140 million interest payment to its creditors on Wednesday. A situation that could force its leaders to file for bankruptcy if it continues.
The company now has 30 days to rectify its accounts. It is already in the process of negotiating deals with its creditors to restructure its debt, which would total $8.6 billion, according to specialist website Bloomberg.
“Diamond Sports Group plans to continue its operations as usual and continue to bring quality productions to fans as it seeks to regain its bottom line balance. »
Bally Sports is a major broadcaster in several US states such as Arizona, Michigan, Florida, Minnesota and Ohio and California. At these locations they have the rights to games from most professional leagues.
In total, Bally Sports has the rights to present the games of 42 professional teams: 14 in Major League Baseball, 16 in the NBA and 12 in the NHL. The total amount of these agreements is US$1 billion.
If Bally Sports files for bankruptcy, it would be a serious blow to any of those teams’ earnings.
Diamond Sports Group is part of Sinclair Broadcast Group. This company acquired the regional sports networks (known as Fox Sports Network) from Walt Disney for $10 billion in 2019.
Disney was forced to sell its networks to get its monstrous deal to acquire 21st Century Fox approved.
Like any other TV broadcaster in the world, Bally Sports faces stiff competition from streaming networks that also broadcast sporting events. Also, the company also has its live broadcast channel (Bally Sports +) but that doesn’t seem to be enough to stop the bleeding.
The leagues prepare
Meanwhile, professional sports leagues are looking. They have a thorough understanding of Bally Sports’ financial situation and are prepared for any eventuality.
The NHL released a statement on Thursday.
“We are closely monitoring the situation. Regardless of the circumstances, we will be ready for our fans to have access to our games. »
Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred did the same at a press conference.
“Our goal is to make games available over traditional cable, but on digital platforms,” he said in recent days. Our actions will depend on how Diamond and its creditors play their cards and what they choose to do. »
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