By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, the Charlotte Hornets games are on Bally Sports but I read that Bally Sports has declared bankruptcy so will Bally Sports keep doing the Hornets games this season? — Justin, Charlotte, North Carolina.
Justin, Diamond Sports, the owner and operator of the Bally Sports regional sports networks, declared bankruptcy last March and the company is trying to reorganize as a profitable unit. As part of that effort, Diamond Sports has ended its broadcasting agreements with the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks and opted out of a new agreement with the Phoenix Suns. The company also terminated its deal with Raycom to carry ACC college football and basketball games.
With so much change, it’s understandable that fans would wonder how much longer their teams will air on the Bally Sports RSNs, including the Charlotte Hornets on Bally Sports Southeast. However, despite the flurry of activity from Diamond Sports, the company still plans to stay in business and keep as many TV deals as possible. That was reinforced yesterday when the new Hornets owners, Gabe Plotkin and Rick Schnall, were asked by reporters if their team would continue on Bally Sports.
“We actually don’t know the answer to that question,” said Schnall, according to SI.com. “We’re obviously under contract through the 2025-26 season with Bally Sports and we expect them to live up to that contract. They’re obviously in Chapter 11, so that’s an ongoing negotiation and the NBA is very concerned and very involved in that. There will be a place to watch the Hornets. We think it’ll be Bally Sports under the terms of the contract, but if not, we will have alternative plans.”
Schnall was careful not to offer any guarantees that the Hornets-Diamond Sports partnership will continue. The RSN company still has a long way to go before becoming profitable, including negotiating new carriage deals with Comcast and DIRECTV. But for now, it would appear that the Hornets will stay on Bally Sports Southeast indefinitely.
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— Phillip Swann