ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

D-backs could be 1st team impacted by Bally Sports ownership bankruptcy

Mar 10, 2023, 9:04 AM

Bally Sports Arizona...

Bally Sports Arizona logo

The Arizona Diamondbacks could be one of the first teams impacted as Diamond Sports Group prepares to file for bankruptcy.

The operator of the 19 Bally Sports regional television networks has continued to pay its rights fees to every Major League Baseball team with the exception of the Diamondbacks, reports John Ourand of Sports Business Journal.

Diamond released this statement: “We’ve been making our rights payments to teams with the exception of the Diamondbacks, where we have exercised a contractual grace period in order to maximize flexibility, especially given that we do not have DTC rights. We are continuing to broadcast games and are operating our business as usual.”

Ourand reports that the grace period to pay the D-backs ends at midnight on Thursday.

He adds that Diamond has not paid the D-backs because the deal is extremely team-friendly in comparison to other clubs. It also runs through 2035.

If Diamond does not pay Arizona by next week, it is not expected to impact Diamondbacks fans watching games immediately, according to Ourand. MLB would begin fighting to take on the rights through bankruptcy court if that occurred.

During that time, Ourand’s sources indicate Bally Sports Arizona will continue producing the games for TV so it can keep being paid by cable and satellite distributors.

In other words, it’s hard to lay out a timeline for potential changes in how fans consume the D-backs because of the legal process.

Diamond is expected to file for bankruptcy by next Friday, the end of a 30-day grace period after the company missed a $140 million interest payment on Feb. 15.

The grace period has allowed Diamond time to negotiate with creditors and restructure its debt. Another avenue could be the prearranged Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has said his league is prepared for any fallout from Diamond’s financial situation.

Bally Sports Arizona also carries games for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Coyotes and Phoenix Mercury. Ourand reports that both the NBA and NHL have financial reasons to remain committed to their contracts with Diamond, at least for the time being.

But if the tie between Diamond and the Diamondbacks is cut, the company could have to renegotiate its deal with television distributors.

In some cases, rebate clauses already are built into these deals that spell out how much less the distributor must pay the RSN if it loses one of its teams. If the contract does not have that language, the RSN will try to renegotiate a new rate.

Arizona Diamondbacks

A car burns in the Dodgers Stadium parking lot on Wednesday, May 22, 2024....

Aaron Schmidt

Dodgers organist plays ‘We Didn’t Start the Fire’ as a car in stadium parking lot burns

Ahead of Wednesday’s National League West matchup between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers, fans in attendance witnessed a bizarre scene as a car burst into flames in the Dodger Stadium parking lot. Without hesitation, Dodgers organist Dieter Ruehle channeled his inner Billy Joel, playing “We Didn’t Start the Fire” as the car […]

52 minutes ago

...

Arizona Sports Video

Video: Bickley Blast: Is Diamondbacks OF Corbin Carroll finally breaking out of his sophomore slump?

After Corbin Carroll's triple aided the Arizona Diamondbacks enroute to a 6-0 shutout and series win over the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Dan Bickley wonders if the outfielder could be breaking out of his early season slump.

4 hours ago

Ketel Marte #4 of the Arizona Diamondbacks reacts as he hits an RBI ground ball out in front of Wil...

Kellan Olson

Ketel Marte keeps hit streak going, D-backs beat Dodgers again

In a start to the Arizona Diamondbacks season that has been filled with offensive inconsistency, Ketel Marte is providing consistency.

15 hours ago

Brandon Hughes throws a pitch...

Tyler Drake

Brandon Hughes recalled by D-backs, will start vs. Dodgers; Slade Cecconi optioned

The Arizona Diamondbacks recalled left-handed pitcher Brandon Hughes from the Triple-A Reno Aces on Wednesday.

22 hours ago

Jake McCarthy...

Alex Weiner

Diamondbacks’ Jake McCarthy provides perspective on Corbin Carroll’s struggles

Jake McCarthy went through a difficult follow-up tp his rookie season and is confident Corbin Carroll will fight through this.

1 day ago

Brandon Pfaadt...

Alex Weiner

Diamondbacks’ Brandon Pfaadt keeps quality starts rolling in win over Dodgers

Diamondbacks starting pitcher Brandon Pfaadt threw his fifth consecutive quality start Tuesday night in a win at the Dodgers.

2 days ago

D-backs could be 1st team impacted by Bally Sports ownership bankruptcy