NBA Renews Rights Deal with Diamond Sports, Despite Looming Bankruptcy; Lines Up All Media Rights for 2025 Bidding
It is a tumultuous time for executives at Diamond Sports Group and the fans of teams that have their games air on the company’s Bally Sports regional sports networks (RSNs). Earlier this week, Diamond Sports — an independent subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG) — announced that it would not make the scheduled payment on its outstanding debt, triggering a 30-day window in which the company must come up with a plan to satisfy creditors or begin bankruptcy proceedings. While this announcement caused both the NHL and Major League Baseball to openly prepare for the possibility of taking over Diamond's broadcast rights, the other major sports league that airs games on Bally Sports networks has seemingly thrown a lifeline to the floundering broadcaster.
According to a report from John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal, the NBA has renewed its streaming rights deal with Diamond for another year, allowing the company to continue to stream games for the 16 teams in its portfolio through the 2024-25 season on its direct-to-consumer streaming service Bally Sports+. In January 2022, the two sides agreed to a one-year deal that would require Diamond to hit 13 different conditions in order to be renewed.
However, while this would appear to be a vote of confidence in the struggling platform, there might be a more financially-focused reason for the latest agreement. The NBA’s rights deals with Disney and Warner Bros. Discovery are also set to expire after the 2024-25 season, so lining up all of its contracts could allow the league to shop them at the same time, including in different packages than it has ever been able to before.
Recently, executives from Disney — which broadcasts games on ESPN and ABC — and WBD — which airs games on TNT — have been open about the possibility of not renewing their deals with the league, including WBD CEO David Zaslav insisting that his company “doesn't have to have the NBA.” But, if the league’s longtime partners do not re-up their deals beginning in 2025-26, there are plenty of other outlets interested in the rights.
Amazon, Apple, and Comcast are all reportedly interested in securing NBA rights should they become available, and all three would want to put a significant focus on streaming. So, by making sure that both their linear and streaming deals come up again at the same time, the NBA might be positioning itself for the best possible outcome for the future.
Diamond Sports Group Owns the Streaming Rights to 16 NBA Teams:
- Atlanta Hawks
- Charlotte Hornets
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Dallas Mavericks
- Detroit Pistons
- Indiana Pacers
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Miami Heat
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Minnesota Timberwolves
- New Orleans Pelicans
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Orlando Magic
- Phoenix Suns
- San Antonio Spurs
Bally Sports+ is a direct-to-consumer streaming service that offers live games for those who want access to your local Bally Sports RSN without subscribing to a cable or satellite package.
The service has two plans: a monthly plan for $19.99 a month, or an annual plan for $189.99 per year ($15.83/mo pre-paid annually), after a 7-Day Free Trial.
In areas where fans have access to more than one Bally sports network, an optional bundle allows the addition of a second channel. The monthly total for two RSNs is $29.99/month.
With the service, you can stream your local games from 16 NBA teams and 12 NHL teams.
In addition to NHL and NBA, there are five MLB teams available to stream: Detroit Tigers, Milwaukee Brewers, Miami Marlins, Kansas City Royals, and Tampa Bay Rays. Sinclair has yet to get approval from MLB to stream the rest of the teams that they own the traditional broadcast rights for.
The service is only intended for those who live in-market to their local teams. If you live out-of-market, you will need to subscribe to MLB.TV (MLB), NHL.TV via ESPN+ (NHL), or NBA League Pass (NBA).