According to a report in the New York Post, the MLB, NBA, and NHL may be trying to work a deal that would see them become the largest operator of regional sports networks in the country.
Diamond Sports — a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcasting — owns 21 regional sports networks, branded as Bally Sports. In all, the collection of Bally Sports networks has a footprint in more than half of the TV markets in the US.
The Post cites a source “close to the situation” that claims that Diamond is losing money for Sinclair and is in danger of going bankrupt.
Sinclair bought the networks from 21st Century Fox for more than $10 billion in 2019. That purchase gave the company broadcasting rights to more than 40 major professional teams.
However, a double-whammy of issues with cable companies and the continued shift toward streaming has put the networks in a tough spot.
Sources indicate that Diamond Sports — which has an estimated value of around $3 billion including its debt. The thought is that creditors would sell off the company’s assets to the leagues while Diamond retains a minority stake.
The belief is that if Diamond does go bankrupt, it wouldn’t disrupt its ability to broadcast games. However, it won’t have to pay teams the rights fees as protection from creditors is a condition of bankruptcy,
Leagues are believed to be exploring contingency plans if the regional sports networks go belly up. which range from broadcasting games themselves, streaming games regionally on established platforms like Amazon, Apple TV, or Peacock, or even launching their own streaming services.
An MLB representative told the New York Post that all the speculation around regional sports broadcasts is just that: speculation.
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