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Diamond's Bally Networks dropped from Comcast

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Diamond Sports Group's bankruptcy exit plan was dealt a crushing blow Wednesday morning when its Bally Sports networks were dropped from Comcast after the two failed to reach a new long-term carriage deal.

Why it matters: A carriage deal with Comcast was an essential part of the beleaguered TV sports group's plan to emerge from bankruptcy next month.

Zoom in: The impasse with Comcast reverses months of momentum for Diamond, which had cut key distribution deals with Charter and Cox, as well as agreed to terms with DirecTV earlier this week, per a source with knowledge of those talks.

  • The two sides had reached a short-term extension last fall, and Comcast said in a statement it was willing to extend their deal for another year.
  • The main sticking point in the talks is Comcast's desire to move the Bally networks to a pricier subscription tier, versus Diamond's push to migrate them over a stretch of time.

Context: Distributors are playing hardball with regional sports networks in carriage negotiations, particularly Comcast.

What's next: A confirmation hearing on Diamond's restructuring agreement, the final step before Diamond can emerge from bankruptcy, is still set for June 18.

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