NHL agrees to keep 11 teams' local broadcasts on Bally Sports

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Thursday, December 21, 2023

The NHL and Diamond Sports Group, the largest owner of regional sports networks, have reached an agreement that will keep local broadcasts for 11 teams on Bally Sports through the end of this season.

The agreement, which was contained in a court filing made Wednesday, is subject to court approval. Diamond Sports has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the Southern District of Texas since it filed for protection in March. The company said in a financial filing last year that it had debt of $8.67 billion.

While there will be a reduction in rights payments for some teams, the local rights for those 11 franchises will revert back to the NHL at the end of this season.

The agreement provides stability for fans, networks and teams after Major League Baseball had to take over the broadcasts of San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks games last season after agreements could not be reached.

The NHL teams that are currently on Bally are Anaheim, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Tampa Bay.

Diamond also reached the same type of agreement with the NBA for the 15 teams under contract to the RSNs last month.

Diamond is also in discussions with Major League Baseball on reworked agreements for the 2024 season with as many as 11 teams, with the next court hearing scheduled for Jan. 10.

If successful, Diamond would have agreements with all of its professional sports teams end after the current or upcoming seasons, giving leagues and franchises a little more time to figure out a new path due to the possible implosion of regional sports networks.

Diamond is in discussions with Amazon about becoming a strategic partner, which could help it stave off liquidation. The Amazon-Diamond negotiations were first reported by the The Wall Street Journal.