Mar 16, 2023 - Sports

How Bally Sports' bankruptcy will impact Arizona Diamondbacks fans

A baseball player in an Arizona Diamondbacks uniform hits a ball.

Corbin Carroll of the Arizona Diamondbacks in action Sunday. Photo: John E. Moore III/Getty Images

The owner of Bally Sports Arizona — the regional broadcaster of Diamondbacks, Suns and Coyotes games — filed for bankruptcy Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Diamond Sports Group owns the broadcast rights to 42 professional sports teams across the country.

  • How Diamond emerges — or doesn't — will be viewed as a bellwether for the increasingly dire future of regional sports networks, Axios' Tim Baysinger reports.

The intrigue: The company said Tuesday it has $425 million cash on hand and will continue to pay its rights fees — except to the Diamondbacks.

  • The deal with the D-backs is extremely favorable to the team, the Sports Business Journal reports.
  • Diamond is likely trying to use bankruptcy to get a better agreement that includes D-backs streaming rights, though the MLB doesn't appear to be interested in negotiating.

What they're saying: "Despite Diamond's economic situation, there is every expectation that they will continue televising all games they are committed to during the bankruptcy process. Major League Baseball is ready to produce and distribute games to fans in their local markets in the event that Diamond … is unable to do so," MLB said in a statement following the bankruptcy filing.

What we know: Thursday night marks the expiration of a 14-day grace period for Diamond to resolve its D-backs debt, which means the MLB can officially take the company to court to get those rights back.

  • That legal process will likely take a while, and Diamond can continue to broadcast D-backs games until a court order is granted.

What we don't know: How much — if any — of the D-backs season, which begins March 30, will be available on Bally Sports.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Diamond Sports Group has a 14-day grace period to resolve its Arizona Diamondbacks debt, not 30.


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