Image Courtesy of the Baltimore Business Journal
By Zachary Lichter
In March of this year, Diamond Sports Group announced their regional network, Bally Sports, filed for bankruptcy. This comes from the Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG) filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, where an organization reorganizes itself and still has the power to run its business with court approval to borrow money. The Sinclair Broadcast Group had to find a way to bring the channel back to people’s televisions.
In August 2019, the SBG bought Fox Regional Sports Network for $10.6 billion in a sale with Disney entertainment. Since 2021, the Sinclair Broadcast Group and Diamond Sports Group’s Bally Sports have been the home of 40 teams: 12 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, 16 National Basketball Association (NBA) teams, and 12 National Hockey League (NHL) teams. The announcers who worked for the Fox Sports Regional Networks continued to cover their teams on Bally Sports. Since the SBG bought all of Fox’s regional networks, they would lose money during the COVID-19 Pandemic. In July of this year, Diamond Sports regional network sued SBG and JP Morgan Chase for paying Chase more money in their contract than the amount SBG bought in 2019.
In May of this year, the San Diego Padres stopped having their games broadcasted on Bally Sports because of contract issues. They had their games streamed on MLB.TV for the remainder of the season. The Diamondbacks followed the Padres in July of this year, streaming their games on MLB.TV as well. The Minnesota Twins and the Phoenix Suns will not renew their contract with Bally Sports. With Bally Sports losing money, they have to figure out how they will be able to keep their contracts with MLB, NBA, and NHL.
Sophomore theology major and business minor Jerome Hopkins commented on Bally Sports.
“We watch the Guardians almost every day, we love watching the games,” Hopkins said. “Cavs probably every other game. I’m not sure if we will get MLB.TV or NBA League Pass, that would definitely have to be a discussion with my family.”
Sophomore business marketing and sales major Charles Hyland gave his comments about how often he and his family watch Bally Sports:
“I would say that our family [has] at least watched some part of every Cavaliers game and maybe every other Guardians game during their seasons,” Hyland said. “I would debate getting NBA League pass, but most likely not MLB TV, but most likely just continue watching them on whichever local channel is broadcasting them.”
With teams possibly planning to leave Bally Sports, the NBA is already taking further measures by talking to the CEOs of YouTube TV, Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney + about broadcasting some NBA games if things continue to go downhill for Bally Sports. Currently, the NBA plans to keep broadcasting games on Bally Sports after the NBA renewed its contract with the Diamond Sports Group for the 2023-24 and 2024-25 seasons. This season, the NBA is also streaming games on MAX. The question fans should be asking in the next few years is where will they watch their favorite MLB, NBA, and NHL teams? Will there be a new channel for people to watch their favorite team? Should people start considering getting MLB.TV, NBA League Pass, or ESPN+?