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Phoenix Suns' TV deal with Gray TV voided by bankruptcy judge

Tim Baysinger
May 10, 2023

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns' local TV deal with Gray Television and streaming platform Kiswe was voided on Wednesday after a judge ruled that the deal violated bankruptcy law.

Why it matters: The ruling gives bankrupt Diamond Sports, the Suns' current local rights holder, a chance at keeping the team on its Bally Sports Arizona RSN.

Details: Shortly after the Suns announced a new local deal with Gray Television two weeks ago, Diamond Sports argued that the Suns were in breach of their Diamond contract and in violation of bankruptcy law.

  • Indeed, the judge sided with Diamond on Wednesday, ruling that the team's deal was in violation of the automatic stay rule under the bankruptcy code.

Between the lines: Diamond had the right to match any deal the Suns made with a new broadcast partner, according to a source.

  • Diamond argued that it did not get that opportunity and that the Suns did not have the right in the first place to make a new deal because those rights were under the purview of the judge handling the bankruptcy.

Of note: The deal announced last month with the Gray included the rights for the WNBA's Phoenix Mercury. That part of the deal remains in place.

The big picture: Local TV station groups like Gray and Scripps are starting to win local TV rights to major pro teams as the cable TV bundle disintegrates.

  • The NHL's Vegas Golden Knights' games will be carried by Scripps' Las Vegas station KMCC starting next season. Scripps will also begin airing nationally televised WNBA games on Ion this summer.

What's next: In a statement, Josh Bartelstein, CEO of Phoenix Suns and Mercury, said that they are "committed to working collaboratively on a fair resolution that will be in the best interest of our fans, our community, and our players."

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