By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, will DIRECTV sign a new deal for the Bally Sports channels this year? I think the agreement needs to be renewed later this year, right? — Frank, Cincinnati.

Frank, this is a complicated one. Let me try to explain.

DIRECTV and the Bally Sports channels last signed a carriage pact in October 2019 and Sinclair, which once owned and operated the 18 regional sports networks, has said the agreement will end in the second half of this year. Since the last deal was signed in October, it will likely be October of this year when a new agreement will be needed.

However, since the 2019 pact, Sinclair has established a separate entity called, Diamond Sports, which now owns and operates the 18 Bally Sports nets. As part of this restructuring, Diamond Sports declared bankruptcy in March and is seeking to reorganize the RSN unit as a profitable one. Consequently, Diamond Sports recently decided to reject its agreement to carry the San Diego Padres games, and it’s contemplating doing the same for at least four more teams: the Minnesota Twins, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers and Cleveland Guardians.

The RSN unit is losing money because of declining carriage fees from cable and satellite operators. The pay TV ops pay the RSNs based on how many subscribers have access to their channels. But cord-cutting over the last several years has reduced the number of subscribers. So Diamond Sports is trying to determine which channels will be profitable now, and in the years to come.

Consequently, we don’t know how many Bally Sports channels will be left come October. We also don’t know if any Bally Sports agreement would still be part of a package deal for Sinclair’s 100 plus local stations. (It was in October 2019.) DIRECTV would be more likely to renew the Bally Sports nets if it was required to get the local stations. But although Diamond Sports is a subsidiary of Sinclair, it’s not clear if Sinclair can still force a pay TV distributor to carry both the local stations and the RSNs.

Bottom line: It’s impossible to say if DIRECTV will renew the Bally Sports channels this year. The company, which heavily markets its sports offerings, would be inclined to do so but we don’t know now what the Bally lineup will look like.

The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor this situation and report back here if anything significant changes.

Until then, happy viewing and stay safe!

Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at Please include your first name and hometown in your message.

— Phillip Swann