By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, I read your post on DIRECTV and Bally Sports. Do you think Diamond Sports, the owner of Bally Sports, can survive if they don’t get a new deal with DIRECTV and Comcast? It would seem like that would be the end of them, right? — Connie, San Francisco.
Connie, DIRECTV this week filed a statement in the Diamond Sports bankruptcy case that warned the owner of the Bally Sports regional sports networks that it can’t assume it will be able to renew its carriage deal with the satcaster when it expires this fall. The statement noted that negotiations between the two had “barely begun” and that they hadn’t even been able to agree on whether Diamond Sports owed rebates to DIRECTV for losing the broadcasts of the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks. (The RSN company ended their broadcasting deals with the two MLB teams as part of its bankruptcy reorganization plan. Diamond Sports declared bankruptcy last March.)

Diamond Sports also must extend its contract with Comcast this fall. Failure to keep both TV providers would be devastating and even the loss of one could destroy the progress the company has made this year. Diamond Sports could wind up back in bankruptcy court if that occurred. But this time it would likely motion to dissolve rather than reorganize.

DIRECTV and Comcast know that the RSN firm desperately needs their business so they will be particularly tough in the carriage negotiations. And it’s even possible that the two TV services might decide that they would rather negotiate with the leagues than Diamond Sports. How would that happen? If DIRECTV and/or Comcast failed to extend, it would likely mean the end of Diamond Sports and the leagues and teams would take over the broadcasts. It might be easier, and cheaper, for DIRECTV and Comcast to secure carriage deals with the leagues and teams.

I have said here before that Diamond Sports’ biggest challenge is not paying the teams to continue broadcasting their games. It’s securing new carriage deals with DIRECTV and Comcast, which have somewhere between 25 and 30 million subscribers combined. Without those deals, it will be game over.

Connie, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann