DirecTV appears to have issued a warning that its Bally Sports deal with Diamond Sports Group could be in danger. This is one of the latest developments in the ongoing situation with Diamond and its bankruptcy filing.
While Bally Sports Plus offered a way for consumers to directly subscribe to the Bally Sports RSNs available in their location, the same RSNs can also be accessed through a live TV plan. Well, that’s providing the subscriber is signed up to either Fubo or DirecTV/DirecTV Stream.
It now seems as though that agreement with DirecTV may encounter issues when the time comes for it to be renewed. In a court filing yesterday, DirecTV made clear that it should not be assumed that DirecTV will automatically renew its distribution agreement with Diamond.
The filing was made in response to a 120-day extension request by Diamond. Essentially, Diamond wants longer before it has to file its Chapter 11 plan. While DirecTV isn’t opposed the extension in principle, it did use its response to state that it has “concerns regarding the viability of any go-forward business plan.”
DirecTV added, “particularly one that assumes a continuation of the status quo under the Distribution Agreements with DirecTV.”
Later in the filing, DirecTV said, that unless DirecTV opts to extend them, its distribution agreements with Diamond are due to end later this year. And, in spite of being “presumably a vital partner” for Diamond, renewal negotiations “have barely begun.”
DirecTV also hinted at the possibility of requiring some form of reimbursement and/or having its existing agreement rates renegotiated before any future deal could be agreed. Later in the same filing, DirecTV made the clear suggestion that Diamond needs to address “the issue of providing immediate rate relief to MVPDs for the loss of teams from their respective RSNs.”
This appears to be directly in reference to the fact that Diamond has now ended some of its deals early. Most notably, its agreements with the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres. Both agreements were terminated in recent months and led to broadcast control reverting back to MLB.
The takeaway here is that DirecTV seems to be suggesting that Diamond shouldn’t assume it will renew later this year, and especially if there aren’t changes to the current agreement to reflect the changes that have happened over the past few weeks and months.