The Diamond Sports bankruptcy proceedings may be rolling on even longer.
Per the Sports Business Journal, Diamond requested a 60-day extension to file a Chapter 11 plan. If accepted, the new deadline will be November 29, with creditors needing to improve the plan by January 29.
Additionally, SBJ poured cold water on last week’s report from the New York Post that the NBA and NHL would (or even would be able to) accept bulk cuts to rights fees from Diamond. Contracts are negotiated on a team-by-team, rather than on a league-by-league, basis and the leagues themselves wouldn’t have the power to accept a universal cut of rights payments to all teams under the Diamond umbrella.
Comcast’s carriage deal with Diamond was indeed extended (as also reported last week), but the extension was shorter than the year reported. Comcast has reportedly only extended its deal into February, meaning we’re going to be doing this whole song and dance again in four months. DirecTV’s deal was not extended but doesn’t expire until next fall (rather than next month, as also reported by the Post). The company reportedly had an opt-out in October that would have allowed it to renegotiate its carriage deal with Diamond, but declined to use it because carriage deals with Sinclair-owned local affiliates would have also needed to be renegotiated.
Charter’s carriage deal with Sinclair expires on February 29, slightly before the end of the NBA and NHL seasons and before the start of the MLB season, making it a pretty big date on the calendar for Diamond. A renewal is no slam dunk, especially given Charter’s very public carriage battle with Disney last month.
All in all, this turn of events (assuming Diamond’s extension is approved) is good news for Diamond and the NBA and NHL teams airing on the Bally Sports regional sports networks. It seems pretty likely that some teams will get dropped by Diamond, like the Diamondbacks and Padres were, over the coming months, but most teams will at least still have games airing locally on Bally’s RSNs.