It’s official, the NBA will be remaining on Bally Sports’ regional sports networks for the rest of the 2023-24 season. A deal was reached between the two sides, and the details were partly unveiled as Bally Sports’ owned, Diamond Sports Group is currently going through its bankruptcy proceedings.
As part of this new deal, the rights revert back to the NBA for the 2024-25 season. Under the previous deal, those rights couldn’t revert until after the 2024-25 season. Basically the NBA can do what it wants with its rights a bit sooner. It’s also expected that the NHL will agree to a similar deal in the next few weeks.
What this deal means is that the NBA will get to decide at the end of this season if it wants to do another deal with Diamond Sports Group before the start of next year, or sell the local rights to those teams to another outlet. Previously, we’ve heard that Disney, Amazon, Apple and Google were all interested in picking up these rights. On top of all of this, the NBA’s national broadcasting contract with ESPN and TNT does expire at the end of the 2024-25 season. The NBA is expected to pursue and get more than the $24 billion it currently makes.
Does this help out Bally Sports’ on-going bankruptcy?
As part of Bally Sports’ declaring bankruptcy, it was forced to renegotiate a number of its contracts, so that it could actually pay them. Diamond Sports Group had suggested that the NBA take a 20% pay cut for its rights fee payments. Now it’s unclear if that happened or not, but it does sound very likely.
This is only one part of the bankruptcy though, for DSG. As the company also needs to agree with the NHL and MLB for rights fees. Bally Sports did give up the rights to a number of MLB teams over the summer. These included the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres. But for now, with this NBA agreement, all 15 teams that Bally Sports already had on its networks, will remain.