As we approach the end of Diamond Sports’ bankruptcy deadline, the company is reportedly going to NBA and NHL teams whose broadcast rights it owns with hat in hand.
Per the New York Post, Diamond wants the 15 NBA and 12 NHL teams under its umbrella to take 20% less in rights fees, an offer the leagues are “leaning toward” accepting.
Diamond proposed cutting the fees to both leagues by up to 20% ahead of a bankruptcy court-imposed Sept. 30 deadline, a source with direct knowledge of the situation told The Post on Thursday.
The NBA and NHL are leaning toward accepting the haircut, which would allow Diamond to survive for another year, the source said.
If this plan doesn’t work, the Post also reports that Diamond could also discharge rights deals with teams “in markets where it is losing money,” which it did earlier this year with the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Milwaukee Bucks and New Orleans Pelicans have both reportedly received payments due September 1 on time. If the company’s bankruptcy plan fails, Diamond reportedly could request refunds from both teams. The Los Angeles Kings also signed a new rights deal with the Diamond Sports Group earlier this month.
Diamond attempted to pay several MLB teams a lower rights fee than what was owed, with the bankruptcy court eventually ruling against the company.
In more concrete news, the Post also reports that Diamond has inked carriage extension deals of around a year with both Comcast and DirecTV. The Comcast deal was due to expire this week, with the DirecTV deal expiring next month. Charter, which has a carriage deal with Diamond expiring in February, is still in negotiations with the company. In August, DirecTV said renewal negotiations with Diamond “had barely begun.”