D-backs, Diamond Sports push back hearing on TV contract, Bally Sports to continue coverage
Jun 28, 2023, 7:16 PM | Updated: 7:47 pm
(Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)
Bally Sports Arizona will continue to carry Arizona Diamondbacks games for an undisclosed period of time.
Diamond Sports, the owner of the regional network, last week requested in the Southern Texas Bankruptcy Court that its current television contract with the D-backs be rejected and on Wednesday it was announced in a joint statement that the hearing would be pushed back.
“Diamond Sports Group and the Arizona Diamondbacks have decided to postpone tomorrow’s hearing due to ongoing and positive discussions toward finding a solution,” David Preschlack, CEO of Diamond Sports Group, and Derrick Hall, president and CEO of the Arizona Diamondbacks, said in a statement acquired by Arizona Sports‘ Alex Weiner.
“During this time, Bally Sports Arizona will continue to broadcast D-backs games and fans will have the same televised access they have been able to enjoy from the beginning of the season.”
The D-backs could renegotiate a new deal to remain on Bally Sports Arizona or have their game broadcasts taken over by Major League Baseball. The San Diego Padres, who were also under the Bally Sports umbrella, have already gone under MLB broadcast control.
In February, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the league was ready to take on game broadcasts in the event Diamond Sports could no longer function as the rights holder.
“We are prepared no matter what happens with respect to Diamond to make sure the games are available to fans in their local markets,” Manfred said at Cactus League Media Day. “We think it will be both linear in the traditional cable bundle and digitally on our own platforms, but that remains to be seen.”
A bankruptcy judge on June 1 ruled in favor of Major League Baseball against Diamond Sports, forcing the company to fulfill its end on contracts for the rights to broadcast MLB games. The Diamondbacks were ordered to receive the full payment of $18 million, according to Arizona’s Law.
After missing a $140 million interest payment, Diamond Sports Group, the company that operates Bally Sports regional networks, entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March.
Under Chapter 11, the company has frozen assets, allowing it to refinance and reorganize.
Bally Sports Arizona also holds the rights to the Arizona Coyotes.
It is also in a legal battle to retain the rights of the Phoenix Suns, who announced a new agreement before the end of their prior contract.
A judge ruled with Diamond Sports and said in May that the new media deal announced by the Suns with Gray Television and Kiswe is void for now. That is as Diamond Sports remains in bankruptcy.