Diamond Sports Group, which is owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, and the owner of various Bally Sports RSNs, is heading towards bankruptcy, according to a new report which paints a very complicated and unknown picture for the future of the company, and of live local sports.
The history of Bally Sports is a short, but complicated one. Previously known as Fox Sports, the channels were sold and rebranded as Bally Sports. However, this sale and rebranding eventually resulted in new negotiations with live TV services. Many of which were unwilling to pay higher rates to carry the channels.
It would seem this, along with fewer subscribers to the standalone Bally Sports Plus streaming service, has resulted in some major financial issues for Diamond. According to a new Bloomberg report, Diamond Sports Group is now facing a “complex $8.6 billion debt restructuring in bankruptcy court.”
While it remains to be seen what exactly the end result will look like following any potential restructuring or bankruptcy, the impact could be far-reaching. For example, teams could end up having their revenue cut due to existing contracts ending or payments being halted.
Interestingly, the report does mention how Diamond Sports Group is currently considering launching another streaming service as a way to help with its financial situation.
Different from the existing Bally Sports Plus service, which requires people to sign up on a monthly basis to get access to their local sports channels, the new service will reportedly be available to buy on a per-game basis. In fact, the report suggests that not only will individual games be available to buy, but viewers could potentially just pay to watch the final few minutes of a game.
According to the report, however, Diamond is also facing resistance from league partners over the handing of any additional streaming rights. Resistance which could stop the launch of the new streaming service.
At present, DirecTV Stream is the only major live TV streaming service to carry the various Bally Sports RSNs. fuboTV did recently announce that it had struck a deal for the return of the RSNs, although the actual returning of the regional sports networks to the channel lineup has yet to happen.