A North Carolina Courage flag. May 6, 2023; Cary, North Carolina, USA; A general shot of the NC Courage corner flag at WakeMed Soccer Park. Mandatory Credit: William Howard-USA TODAY Sports

The current bankruptcy proceedings with Diamond Sports and their Bally Sports-branded regional sports networks have led to the San Diego Padres parting ways with them and broadcasting their own games through MLB, and to the suggestions of other teams following. There have also been other attempts to move away from Diamond, including the Phoenix Mercury doing so and the Phoenix Suns being foiled in their attempt to do so. And yet, Monday saw some unusual news, with a new team actually signing on with a Diamond Sports RSN. That would be the NC Courage of the NWSL:

Here’s more from that announcement:

The North Carolina Courage today announce a television agreement with Bally Sports South as the club’s regional broadcast partner for the 2023 season. Bally Sports South – which covers North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee – will air eight Courage matches, beginning in June. The first regional broadcast will air on Saturday, June 10, when the Courage visit the Chicago Red Stars.

…“Visibility is a key to expanding our reach and fan base. As the only professional women’s sports team in North Carolina, there is massive opportunity to broaden our community and be a true home team for our entire region. Affiliating with Bally Sports South as a regional television partner provides another avenue to reach new potential fans and showcase our outstanding athletes, the NWSL, and women’s soccer. We are excited for the opportunity and proud of the work our club has done to make this a reality,” said club president Francie Gottsegen. 

“The Bally Sports South network is very excited to partner with the North Carolina Courage of the NWSL,” said Jeff Genthner, Senior Vice President, General Manager of Bally Sports South. “Having won the NWSL Championship in 2018 and 2019, the Courage play at the highest level of professional women’s soccer and we look forward to distributing these exciting games throughout the Southeast.”

Six of those particular matches have been announced so far, with two still yet to be determined. Here’s the schedule so far:

Despite it being odd to see a team sign a deal with an in-bankruptcy network, this one makes some sense. The Bally Sports channels are largely continuing broadcasting as usual despite Diamond’s bankruptcy proceedings, and many expect those proceedings to end up just with a redistribution of equity in the networks rather than with a collapse of most of those networks. And those networks still have distribution and viewership.

And for regional rights to a low number of games like this in particular (and with all NWSL games this season already airing nationally on CBS or CBSSN or streaming nationally on Paramount+), there aren’t a ton of options. And Bally Sports South is absolutely a good one within the Courage’s footprint. It is still funny to see a team come on board with an in-bankruptcy network, but it makes some sense in this case.

[NC Courage; photo of a Courage corner flag on May 6 from William Howard/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.