The NBA and Diamond Sports Group, the largest owner of regional sports networks, have reached an agreement that will keep local broadcasts for 15 teams on Bally Sports through the end of this season.
The agreement, which was contained in a court filing made Monday, is subject to court approval. Diamond Sports has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the Southern District of Texas since it filed for protection in March. The company said in a financial filing last year that it had debt of $8.67 billion.
While there will be a reduction in rights payments for some teams, the local rights for 15 franchises will revert back to those teams and the league at the end of this season. The NBA is also on the verge of beginning negotiations for national rights, which expire after the 2024-25 season.
The agreement provides stability for fans, networks and NBA teams after Major League Baseball had to take over the broadcasts of San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks games last season after agreements could not be reached.
The NBA teams that are currently on Bally are: Atlanta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Indiana, LA Clippers, Memphis, Miami, Milwaukee, Minnesota, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Orlando and San Antonio.
Diamond, which also has the rights for 11 National Hockey League teams, is also in discussions with the NHL for the same type of agreement.
Diamond Sports Group said in a statement: “Our newly-signed agreements with the NBA, Comcast and our creditors reflect significant progress on Diamond’s path forward. Diamond has been broadcasting NBA and NHL games and will continue to do so while the Court considers our motions, and while discussions with the NHL finalize with respect to their own new deal.”
Also included in the 74-page filing was Diamond's agreement to sell its minority stakes in the YES Network, which airs New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets games, as well as the the Chicago Cubs’ Marquee Network. The proceeds from those sales will go to unsecured creditors.
Diamond also said in the filing that it has determined which baseball teams it will retain, and that it has identified those franchises to MLB.
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