Baseball

Court Approves Portion Of Diamond Restructuring Agreement

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Bankruptcy judge Christopher Lopez has approved two parts of the restructuring deal for Diamond Sports Group, reports Anthony Crupi of Sportico. The judge signed off on the January agreement that raises $450MM in debtor financing and reaches a $495MM settlement with Sinclair Broadcasting Group to resolve litigation which Diamond had filed against its former parent company. ESPN’s Alden González tweets that resolution of the overall bankruptcy likely remains weeks or months away, but this marks an important seal of approval for the company.

The agreements provide a potential path for DSG to continue operating its regional sports networks beyond this year. As part of the restructuring, Diamond agreed to sell the streaming rights to the MLB, NHL and NBA teams that it possesses to Amazon. The latter figures to create some kind of package on its Prime Video service for an additional fee.

Attorneys for Diamond have expressed hope that the cash influx will be able to keep the corporation afloat. Before the Amazon deal, the expectation had been that Diamond would wind down its involvement in the RSN business and shutter its Bally Sports networks after the 2024 MLB season. Diamond believes that will no longer be necessary, although the company’s long-term viability is still the subject of skepticism among league officials.

Diamond has in-market broadcasting for 12 teams but only possesses streaming rights for five of them: the Royals, Tigers, Marlins, Brewers and Rays. It has reached agreements with all 12 teams that it carried through the end of last year — DSG dropped the Padres and Diamondbacks midseason — to remain on the Bally networks for 2024. The Guardians and Rangers took slightly reduced rights fees to prevent Diamond from dropping their deals; it is believed that the Twins had to do the same after their TV contract expired at the end of 2023.

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