The ongoing bankruptcy of Bally Sports regional sports networks parent company Diamond Sports has led to lots of effects, with Diamond renouncing rights to the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks (and MLB taking over those games), with the Phoenix Suns and Mercury leaving for broadcast deals with Gray Television and streaming deals with Kiswe, with the Utah Jazz also leaving for a local broadcast deal, and with many discussions about other teams potentially exiting Diamond.
But some teams appear happy to stay with these RSNs despite the uncertainty on those networks’ future. And the latest team there is the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, which will stay with Bally Sports West.
Diamond Sports Group has completed a multiyear rights agreement with the LA Kings.
The bankrupt parent of Bally Sports intends to use the agreement as a template for its reorganization efforts.
— Front Office Sports (@FOS) September 15, 2023
Here’s more from that Front Office Sports piece on the move, by Eric Fisher:
Most importantly for DSG, the structure of the Kings deal will be a key pillar of the company’s reorganization strategy ahead of a Sept. 30 deadline to submit a formal plan. DSG will have to determine which of its 27 total NBA and NHL team media rights it will keep, a decision requiring meaningful progress on distribution renewal negotiations with Comcast, DirecTV, and Spectrum.
“We are encouraged by the progress we are making in our restructuring progress and are hopeful that this agreement can serve as a model for future discussions with team and league partners,” said David Preschlack, DSG CEO.
…“Because of the current, ever-changing dynamics surrounding the broadcasting landscape, our organization is thrilled to present a tremendous broadcast package in conjunction with national league broadcast partners,” the Kings said. “It is an unprecedented reach for us.”
The actual Kings’ deal here will see Bally Sports West broadcast approximately 65 live games each season (the games not in the national packages with ESPN networks, ESPN+, and TNT), with pre- and post-game shows and other original programming. Those broadcasts will be available through linear multichannel video programming distributors (cable, satellite, and vMVPDs) that carry Bally Sports West, as well as through MVPD authentication on streaming, and also through over-the-top streaming service Bally Sports+ (for those in the Kings’ broadcast territory; outside of that, they’re in the out-of-market NHL Power Play package on ESPN+). Here are some more quotes on this from a release:
David Preschlack, CEO of Diamond, stated: “We are thrilled to extend our longstanding relationship with the LA Kings as we work together to continue delivering high-quality, live game broadcasts to our enthusiastic and dedicated regional sports audiences. This partnership furthers our commitment to the Bally Sports West distribution markets and to providing LA Kings fans with in-depth coverage of their favorite team on multiple platforms. Additionally, we are encouraged by the progress we are making in our restructuring process and are hopeful that this agreement can serve as a model for future discussions with our team and league partners.”
Said Dan Beckerman, President and CEO, AEG and Alternate Governor, LA Kings: “The LA Kings and AEG are proud to extend our long-standing partnership with Bally Sports. For nearly 40 years, our organizations have enjoyed this strong relationship, and we look forward to the future together.”
Said Kelly Cheeseman, Chief Operating Officer, LA Kings: “This is an exciting time for Kings fans as we collectively look forward to the start of the 2023-24 NHL season. We thoroughly enjoy working with our friends at Bally Sports. We are happy this agreement maintains consistency and continues to give our stakeholders informed and intimate coverage of our hockey club. We also look forward to the expanded reach through multiple, convenient options.”
It is maybe notable that, so far, NHL teams seem more interested in sticking with the Diamond RSNs than MLB or NBA teams. NBA local rights are drawing a lot of interest, from those Suns and Jazz local/streaming deals to other rumors of tech company involvement, and the future of MLB at Diamond doesn’t look great either. But the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes have not yet left Bally Sports Arizona (whose future is definitely in question following the Suns‘ and Diamondbacks‘ exits), and now the Kings have re-upped with Bally Sports West. We’ll see if this deal will indeed be a “model” for Diamond deals with other teams, or if more teams continue to leave these RSNs.