The legal proceedings continue for Diamond Sports Group, with the latest being a motion requesting the court to order DirecTV to pay the full fees for Bally Sports Arizona and Bally Sports San Diego. This is in spite of neither of these channels offering the content they did when the fees were originally agreed upon.
Over the past few months, Diamond Sports and Bally Sports have undergone substantial changes. In Arizona and San Diego, these changes included the dropping of live games of the very teams used to justify the price. The San Diego Padres moved on from Bally Sports San Diego in May, while the Arizona Coyotes, Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Phoenix Suns have all left Bally Sports Arizona.
While the channels are still technically live, they are broadcasting substantially less premium content than before. In spite of this meaningful change to the schedule, and first reported by Next TV, Diamond Sports is now asking the court to force DirecTV to continue paying the same previously negotiated rates, as well as fees owed for recent months.
According to the complaint, DirecTV has been paying less than agreed for the past few months and Diamond Sports argues that, as it is contractually obligated to pay a certain amount for these channels, it should pay that amount. In justifying the request, Diamond Sports explains the company’s “principle source of revenue is payments they receive from distributors such as DirecTV.”
Understandably, DirecTV is likely to see things very differently. Not only are subscribers to the company’s video services in certain locations receiving a lesser Bally Sports product than before, but DirecTV is also presumably now having to pay fees elsewhere to provide subscribers with access to the same content. Basically, paying twice for the same sports games in areas like Arizona and San Diego.
Earlier this year, DirecTV issued a warning to Diamond Sports, suggesting that it was now less likely to renew its existing carriage agreement. How this latest filing and request for payment for unpaid fees will play out in terms of a new carriage agreement remains unknown, but it seems unlikely to help.