Diamond Sports Group, the parent company of Bally Sports regional sports networks, has reached a restructuring agreement with creditors that includes a $100 million investment from Amazon. The deal allows Diamond Sports to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Diamond Sports Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2022, citing over $8 billion in debt. The regional sports networks have faced financial struggles recently due to cord-cutting and inflating rights fees.
The restructuring agreement is a lifeline for Diamond Sports and allows the company to continue operations and broadcasting local MLB, NBA, and NHL games. The deal still needs final approval in bankruptcy court.
Details of the Restructuring Agreement
- Amazon will invest $100 million in Diamond Sports and receive an equity stake
- Creditors will cut Diamond Sports’ debt from over $8 billion to $600 million
- Sinclair Broadcast Group, a previous creditor, will get $1.8 billion in bankruptcy claims under the deal
- Diamond Sports signs a streaming deal to put some MLB and NBA content on Amazon Prime Video
- The restructuring should allow Diamond Sports to continue normal operations of the Bally Sports networks
Diamond Sports President and CEO Byron Allen hailed the Amazon investment as a “game changer” and said Amazon recognizes the value sports rights.
Games Potentially Coming to Amazon Prime Video
As part of the streaming aspect of the deal, select MLB and NBA games could end up on Amazon Prime Video. The games would still air primarily on the Bally Sports regional networks.
Teams mentioned include:
- Detroit Tigers
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Miami Marlins
- Kansas City Royals
- Milwaukee Brewers
These MLB teams could potentially have some games on Prime Video as early as the 2024 season.
What This Means for Fans
The restructuring agreement brings stability to Diamond Sports and should allow Bally Sports RSNs to continue normal broadcasting operations. Fans in Bally Sports territories can likely expect a similar viewing experience in the near future.
However, the introduction of Amazon Prime Video to air some local games is an interesting wrinkle. WILL fans need an Amazon Prime subscription to watch some of their favorite teams? The details are still unclear, but it introduces streaming into the RSN business model.
|Potential for games on Prime Video
|Tampa Bay Rays
|Kansas City Royals
What Happens Next
While the restructuring agreement is in place, it still needs final approval in bankruptcy court. That process could take weeks or months to finalize.
Assuming court approval, the next steps would be formalizing the Amazon deal and beginning to plan for any Prime Video integration. Again, the streaming details are vague, but expect more clarity in the coming months.
The deal ensures Diamond Sports can continue normal business operations in the meantime. Local MLB, NBA, and NHL coverage on Bally Sports networks seems poised to continue as usual for now.
So while streaming integrations remain up in the air, the restructuring agreement provides short-term stability for Diamond Sports and gives hope for innovative integrations like Amazon Prime Video down the road.
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