The ongoing bankruptcy reorganization at the Bally Sports-branded regional sports networks’ parent company Diamond Sports Group (majority-owned by Sinclair for the moment, about to be owned by creditors) has seen plenty of changes. The latest is the exit of Diamond Sports president Steve Rosenberg. John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported that news Monday:
Diamond Sports parts ways with its president.
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) March 20, 2023
Here’s more from Ourand’s piece on what’s ahead for Diamond’s organizational structure:
Steve Rosenberg is out as president of Diamond Sports after a nearly three-year stint with the company. In an email sent to the company’s staff this morning, Diamond CEO David Preschlack wrote that that Rosenberg’s last day with the company was Sunday. “Going forward, [CFO] David DeVoe is going to take on added COO responsibilities and Steve’s direct reports will report to me on an interim basis,”
…In his memo announcing Rosenberg’s departure, Preschlack wrote, “With the recent appointments we have made to the senior leadership team, and the talented staff we have throughout the organization, I am confident in this team’s ability to work together to execute our strategic goals at this time.”
Sinclair had hired Rosenberg as president of local sports in July 2020, back when their newly-acquired networks (from Disney) were still Fox-branded. He replaced Jeff Krolik, who retired that summer after 15 years running those networks under Fox, Disney, and then Sinclair. At that point, Krolik said the RSN business was in great shape, saying “Live local sports is a great business. It’s a terrific segment of the media business to be in.” Many disagreed with that at their time, and Sinclair might disagree on that themselves these days after losing their RSN equity (which they paid $9.6 billion for) in this bankruptcy.
Of course, that’s much more a function of the shifting TV landscape than anything Rosenberg did or didn’t do during his tenure. Specific challenges there have included the expansion of cord-cutting and subscriber churn, carriage battles without the might of a parent like Disney, and struggles getting RSNs on virtual multichannel video providers in particular. Some of those problems predate Rosenberg’s time running these networks and there haven’t been specific reports of anything in particular going really wrong under him. And that tenure did see some notable steps, including the Bally Sports+ OTT service launch (which did, however, require taking on more debt). But it is remarkable to see how things have changed for these RSNs in a few short years.
Before taking on this role with Diamond Sports, Rosenberg (seen at left above) spent more than 20 years at Universal Studios. He did a lot of different jobs for Universal Television, including spending time as president of Universal Domestic Television and co-president of Universal Television and World Wide Distribution. Again, his exit here isn’t necessarily a reflection of anything he did, especially with his reports and responsibilities being reassigned rather than a direct replacement being hired; bankruptcy proceedings involve a lot of cost-cutting (possibly even including particular TV contracts), and that may be all that’s going on here. But it’s definitely notable to see this Diamond leadership change.
[Sports Business Journal: Rosenberg photo from PR Newswire, Bally logo from TechCrunch]