The changes at the Bally Sports regional sports networks continue. The bankruptcy proceedings of Diamond Sports (the entity that owns these RSNs, formerly majority controlled by Sinclair but now in a public fight with them) are still ongoing, and there have been lots of impacts as a result, including them dropping the local rights to the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks and MLB taking over those broadcasts. And while it’s unclear if this is specifically about the bankruptcy or not, company executive producer of gaming content Brad Evans (seen above) and digital sports content producer Maggie Hendricks both announced Thursday that they had been laid off:
NEWS: I'm no longer EP of Gaming at Bally Sports. Laid off yesterday. Awesome with the NFL season start so close. Thankfully, my @LiveontheLine role is not impacted.
Open to additional opportunities. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if interested.
A few words … pic.twitter.com/GRy0iHGa6l
— Brad Evans (@NoisyHuevos) August 24, 2023
I was laid off from Bally Sports yesterday. I am incredibly bummed, because I loved the work and the team I was on. But I also plan on continuing to cover women's basketball and Olympic sports, so I don't think you've heard the last of me just yet.
— Maggie Hendricks (@maggiehend606) August 24, 2023
As Evans notes, he’s continuing his work on the daily BetMGM-presented Live on the Line show. Interestingly enough, beyond its streaming on Stadium, that show currently airs live on the Bally Sports RSNs. So Evans may still be seen on those channels, but not as a Bally employee, and he’s now available for other work. That’s a tough time to be looking for that only two weeks ahead of the NFL season, but Evans has a lot of experience, including writing for Yahoo from 2006-2019, hosting a SiriusXM show from 2020-2022, serving as an executive producer and on-air voice for Live on the Line since 2021, and co-hosting the The Fade Five podcast with Nate Lundy for the past few years. We’ll see where he winds up. (This is also the second tough August in a row for Evans, as last year saw him recovering from a bad bike accident.)
Evans’ layoff is also interesting in terms of a shift for the Bally Sports networks. From Sinclair’s purchase of the RSNs from Disney in 2019 on, executives there repeatedly talked up gambling as a strategic focus for them, from the naming deal with Bally’s to plans for pitch-by-pitch prop bets and “watch and play gamification.” But many of those plans were never executed as fully as they discussed. And with the layoff of Evans in particular, it looks like the new Diamond ownership structure (which, again, is in a legal fight with Sinclair) is shifting away from that focus at least a bit. We’ll see what, if anything, they do on the gambling front going forward.
Meanwhile, it’s significant to see Hendricks cut too. She had been at Bally since March 2021, and had written plenty of notable pieces there, perhaps particularly on the WNBA. Her past work includes time with Yahoo Sports (2008-13), NBC Chicago (2010-13), USA Today Sports Media Group/For The Win (2013-18), and 670 The Score Chicago (2017-20). We’ll see what’s ahead for her.
And we’ll see if these moves signal a wider shift in Bally’s digital content. They have/had a lot of notable people who once worked at Yahoo, including Dave Morgan, Matt Ryan, Joe Lago, Melissa Geisler, Hendricks and Evans. And they had been putting together a lot of significant digital stories. We haven’t yet seen other Bally digital layoffs, but we’ll keep an eye out for them.