By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman

Diamond Sports, the owner of the Bally Sports regional sports networks, today was granted more time to develop a bankruptcy plan, but the National Hockey League threatened to seek an end to its teams’ TV deals with the RSN company, according to reports from Sportico and Awful Announcing.

Christopher Lopez, the judge in the Diamond Sports bankruptcy case, held a hearing today on the company’s request to extend its deadline for the bankruptcy plan. Diamond is trying to reorganize as a profitable unit, keeping as many broadcasting agreements as possible. (The company has already ended deals with the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks.) Lopez granted the request, extending the deadlines to September 30 and November 29 for different aspects of the plan.

But Awful Announcing reports that an attorney for the National Hockey League told Lopez that if the league doesn’t get assurances from Diamond Sports that it will continue its deals with 12 NHL teams, it might return to the court and ask for the agreements to be voided. Under Lopez’s order today, Diamond Sports has until September 30 to file the reorganization plan which would also be when it needs to decide if it will request the court to end certain team agreements.

The NHL attorney said the league is hopeful that it will come to an agreement with Diamond Sports, Awful Announcing writes, but “we recognize there’s a risk that might not happen…It is critical that we have certainty as we prepare for the 2023-24 NHL season. Our preseason starts on September 23 and our regular season starts on October 10.”

Awful Announcing said the NBA appeared to not participate in today’s hearing. Diamond Sports also has broadcasting deals with 15 NBA teams after deciding to opt out of the Phoenix Suns agreement after the NBA team signed a new TV deal with Gray Television.

If Diamond Sports didn’t have enough to do trying to keep the NHL happy (and MLB, which has made similar threats to seek an end to its agreements), the company must negotiate new carriage deals with Comcast and DIRECTV this fall. Failure to renew one or both of those deals could make it financially difficult to continue operating despite the bankruptcy reorganization. Sportico writes today that the DIRECTV carriage pact ends at the end of October. The satcaster said recently in court documents that negotiations with Diamond had “barely begun” and that the companies couldn’t even agree on refunds for the RSN company losing the Padres and Diamondbacks agreements.

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— Phillip Swann