The end is near for Bally Sports: Shutdown expected
Bally Sports has been in the news a lot recently, along with other regional sports networks or RSNs. That’s because Bally Sports is getting ready to declare bankruptcy, and has skipped payments to some sports leagues as of late.
Now, Scripps believes that a shutdown is expected for Bally Sports, and it could happen before baseball season starts. Scripps executive Brian Lawlor stated that “in the last two weeks, some of the leagues are suddenly in contingency mode trying to figure out what happens if Bally stiffs them – and stops production in the next month. So we’ve had quite a few conversations with the leagues and the teams, just helping them identify where we can be a solution for them”.
Scripps wants to be the home for these teams. Not just the teams on Bally Sports but on AT&T SportsNet (who is shutting down). So far, Bally Sports owes the MLB around $1 billion, which is a figure that the commissioner, Rob Manfred confirmed recently. And if Bally Sports does opt to declare bankruptcy, that could put payments to the MLB, NBA and NHL at risk.
Bally Sports is working on deals with creditors so that it can avoid bankruptcy, but they only have a few weeks left to reach a deal before they will be forced to declare bankruptcy.
The NBA has an out, if Bally Sports does declare bankruptcy
The NBA just started a new streaming deal with Diamond Sports (Bally Sports parent-company), which allows them to take back their rights if Diamond Sports declares bankruptcy. That would mean that the 16 NBA teams could start streaming their games in-market or resell the rights to a different company.
Meanwhile, the NHL and MLB have announced that they do have backup plans, if Diamond Sports is unable to complete their contract. And still allow fans to watch the NHL and MLB.
What would be great for everyone, is if all games were available on NBA TV, MLB.TV and NHL.TV. Allowing fans to watch in-market games in those apps, instead of only out of market games, that are also still subject to blackouts.