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Diamond Sports Group

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Diamond Sports Group LLC
FoundedMay 3, 2019; 4 years ago (2019-05-03)
Area served
United States
Key people
David Preschlack (CEO)
David DeVoe (CFO and COO)
Randy Freer (board member)
Mary Ann Turcke (board member)
Bob Whitsitt (board member)
Chris Ripley (board member)
ServicesBally Sports networks
OwnerSinclair Broadcast Group, Allen Media Group

Diamond Sports Group LLC is an American media and entertainment company operating as a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, and partnered with Allen Media Group. The company operates Bally Sports, a group of regional sports channels that was formerly known as the Fox Sports Networks.

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Sinclair Broadcast Group formed the company with Byron Allen's Allen Media Group to acquire 22 regional Fox Sports Networks affiliates and Fox College Sports from The Walt Disney Company, which was required to divest of these networks to secure government antitrust approval.[1] The transaction, initially valued at $10.6 billion, is managed through a joint venture called Diamond Holdings Group,[2] and formally closed the transfer in August 2019 for $9.6 billion.[3]

The company's regional sports networks have exclusive broadcasting rights to 42 professional teams (including 16 National Basketball Association teams, 14 Major League Baseball teams, and 12 National Hockey League teams),[4] and the channels collectively generated $3.8 billion in 2018, across nearly 75 million subscribers.[2]

Sinclair took a $4.23 billion write-down of its regional sports assets in 2020 after a downturn in the business.[5]

On November 18, 2020, Sinclair announced that it had entered into an agreement with casino operator Bally's Corporation to acquire the naming rights under a 10-year deal.[6]

On January 27, 2021, Sinclair announced that the networks would be rebranded as Bally Sports on March 31.[7][8][9] In December 2021, the company reached an extension agreement with the National Hockey League.[10]

On May 2, 2022, Diamond Sports Group assembled a board of five directors, made up of Bob Whitsitt, Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley, Randy Freer, a former Fox Sports/Hulu executive, Mary Ann Turcke, a former COO of the NFL, and David Preschlack (previously President of the NBC Sports Regional Networks); Preschlack would be elected CEO of Diamond on December 5.[11]

On June 23, 2022, Bally Sports soft-launched a direct-to-consumer service known as Bally Sports Plus (or Bally Sports+) in selected markets. It is expected to launch nationally in the remainder of the networks' footprint on September 26.[12]

On December 4, 2022, Diamond Sports Group's board had voted to block the Sinclair Broadcast Group from operating Diamond and its regional sports networks.[13]

An email from Diamond CEO David Preschlack announced on March 20, 2023 that Steve Rosenberg would no longer be the president of Diamond Sports Group; Rosenberg's last day as president of Diamond was March 19. With his departure, Diamond's chief financial officer David DeVoe will take on the role of COO.[14]


On March 14, 2023, Diamond Sports filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy,[15] 30 days after they failed to make a $140M interest payment.[16] Diamond’s first-lien lenders will not be affected as part of the restructuring support agreement, however other creditors will convert their debt into equity. Diamond also plans to separate from Sinclair and become an entirely new entity.[17]

During its bankruptcy, Diamond has missed payments to the Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Cleveland Guardians and Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball, the Arizona Coyotes of the National Hockey League, the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association, and to Raycom Sports for its ACC on Regional Sports Networks package and the Orange Bowl for its Orange Bowl Classic men's college basketball tournament.[18][19][20][21][22][23][24] Diamond also entered grace periods for their payments to the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds, which they eventually made.[25][26]

On April 5, 2023, Major League Baseball filed an emergency motion asking the bankruptcy judge to order Diamond to pay the teams they missed payments to or give the media rights back to the MLB. Diamond argued that because of cord-cutting the contract rate for the media rights of the teams was too high.[27][24][21][28] As an interim, on April 19, the bankruptcy judge ordered Diamond Sports to pay 50% of what the Diamondbacks, Guardians, Twins and Rangers are owed.[29] On June 1, 2023, after a two day long hearing, the bankruptcy judge ordered Diamond to pay the teams fully within five days.[30] Diamond would go on to pay the Rangers and Twins for the remainder of the season and the Guardians through July.[31][32]

On April 28, 2023, the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association and Phoenix Mercury of the Women's National Basketball Association announced they had signed a five-year agreement with Gray Television to replace Bally Sports Arizona as its local television partners.[33] After the announcement, Diamond Sports Group accused the team of breaching its contract and bankruptcy law, stating that the team was making an "improper effort" to "change their broadcasting partner without permitting Diamond to exercise our contractual rights." In response, Suns CEO Josh Bartlestein stated that "Diamond's position is totally inaccurate. We are moving forward with this deal and could not be more excited about what it means for our fans and our future."[34][35][36] On May 10, 2023, the bankruptcy judge voided the Suns contract with Gray, ruling that the Suns violated Bally Sports Arizona's contractual right of first refusal. He ordered the parties into arbitration. The Phoenix Mercury's deal was not affected.[37] On July 14, 2023, the deal became official when Diamond declined to match Gray's contract offer.[38]

On May 31, 2023, Diamond officially missed a second payment to the Padres, and the Padres' television rights were returned to Major League Baseball. Because Bally Sports San Diego, which aired Padres games, is a joint venture between the Padres and Diamond it is technically not in bankruptcy. Therefore this missed payment did not have the same bankruptcy protections that Diamond's other missed payments had.[39][40] Padres games will be available blackout free on, as well as through channels on select cable providers, including YurView California, in the San Diego area. MLB Network will produce the games with the Padres' regular commentators.[41][40]

On June 14, 2023, Diamond rejected its contract with Raycom Sports to distribute a package of Atlantic Coast Conference games, freeing Raycom to sell the package to other networks.[42] A month later, Raycom announced that The CW had bought the rights.[43]

On June 22, 2023, Diamond announced its intention to reject its contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 30, 2023.[44] Diamond and the Arizona Diamondbacks later released a joint statement pushing back the hearing and agreeing to continue Diamond's broadcast of Diamondbacks' games.[45] The contract was officially rejected on July 18. Like for the Padres, Major League Baseball took over production.[46]

On July 21, 2023, Diamond sued the Sinclair Broadcast Group, their former parent, over transactions made when Sinclair had control over the company. Diamond alleged that Sinclair made transactions that were designed to benefit itself while hurting its subsidiary.[47] On August 11, 2023, the bankruptcy judged granted an 80 day extension to Diamond Sports to file their reorganization plan. The plan is due on September 30.[48]

On September 28, 2023, the New York Post and Next TV reported that Diamond Sports had reached one-year carriage agreements with DirecTV and Comcast prior to their restructuring deadline. They also reported that Diamond Sports had offered the NHL and NBA a 20% reduction in their media rights to continue carrying games through 2024.[49][50] On September 29, Diamond Sports requested a 60 day extension to file their reorganization plan.[51] On October 11, 2023, Major League Baseball filed a notice opposing Diamond Sports' request for an extension. The MLB also asked the bankruptcy court to force Diamond to make a decision on whether the company would air games from the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Guardians, Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers in 2024.[52]

On October 1, 2023, Diamond Sports missed a payment to the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association. But, on November 6, 2023, Diamond Sports and the National Basketball Association reached a one-year agreement that will result in the contracts for NBA teams airing on Diamond expiring after the 2023–24 NBA season, but will result in the Orlando Magic being paid. Across the board, all NBA teams airing on Diamond Sports will receive a 16% reduction in the money they receive from Diamond Sports, but will be able to sell 10 games to local over-the-air networks. The deal still needs to be approved by the bankruptcy court.[53][20]

On October 4, 2023, Diamond announced that it intended to reject its contract with the Arizona Coyotes.[19] The next day, Scripps Sports announced it had acquired the rights and that games would air on KASW.[54] On October 10, 2023, Diamond announced that it intended to reject its contract with the Orange Bowl for its Orange Bowl Classic men's college basketball tournament.[18]

TV rights status for teams with a missed payment or expiring contract
Team Payment(s) missed Status
ACC on Regional Sports Networks March 2023, June 2023 TV rights returned to Raycom Sports[42] (Sublicense acquired by The CW)
Arizona Coyotes October 2023 TV rights acquired by Scripps Sports[54]
Arizona Diamondbacks March 2023, July 2023 TV rights returned to MLB[55]
Cincinnati Reds April 2023 Paid through 2023[56]
Cleveland Guardians April 2023 Paid through 2023[57]
Los Angeles Kings Contract expired New contract, 6 games moved to KCAL-TV[58]
Minnesota Twins April 2023, Contract expired Paid through 2023[59]
Orlando Magic October 2023 Expected to be paid following approval of larger deal with the NBA[20]
Phoenix Suns Contract expired TV rights acquired by Gray Television[38]
San Diego Padres March 2023, May 2023 TV rights returned to MLB[60]
Texas Rangers April 2023 Paid through 2023[61]


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