By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
Apple, Amazon, Disney and Google’s YouTube are all interested in streaming local NBA games if the bankrupt RSN (regional sports network) company, Diamond Sports, does not continue broadcasting them, a new Bloomberg report says. DIRECTV is also interested in buying the local NBA rights, Bloomberg writes. The news service says the companies want the regional broadcasts if they can carry a group of teams, not just a few. Diamond Sports, which declared bankruptcy in March, still has the broadcast rights to 15 NBA teams which are carried by the company’s Bally Sports channels.
But the RSN company, which has been evaluating its team agreements to determine which ones are profitable, recently opted out of its deal with the Phoenix Suns after the team signed a new TV agreement with Gray Television. Diamond Sports also ended its agreements with the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks, leaving Major League Baseball to handle the broadcasts. The company also faces difficult carriage negotiations this fall with DIRECTV and Comcast which could reduce its subscriber totals and cause the company to drop even more team contracts.
If Diamond Sports’ fortunes falter, DIRECTV and the major tech companies are ready to swoop in to acquire the NBA rights, Bloomberg writes, adding that the NBA has sought assurances from Diamond that it will continue making payments to the teams. However, Diamond “has been slow to make commitments because the future is uncertain,” the report states. Bloomberg quotes a Diamond Sports statement as saying the company’s “goal” is to continue producing and broadcasting all NBA teams “in our portfolio.”
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— Phillip Swann