By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, I see that Bally Sports was able to sign a new deal with the Los Angeles Kings. I remember they had a fight with the NHL so does this mean they will carry all the NHL teams this year? — Tom, Madison, Wisconsin.
Tom, Diamond Sports, the owner of the Bally Sports regional sports networks, last month was granted more time in bankruptcy court to develop a reorganization plan. (The company declared bankruptcy last March and has since been trying to renegotiate and reassess team contracts to make the company profitable.) But during the hearing, the National Hockey League threatened to seek an end to its teams’ TV deals with the RSN company, saying that it fears that Diamond will not make its team payments prior to the start of the season in October.
Since that hearing, there has been little discussed publicly by either entity, but Diamond Sports last Thursday announced it has signed a new multi-year deal with the Los Angeles Kings for both the local and digital TV rights. This is a good sign that the NHL and Diamond Sports are on the same page with the regular season starting three weeks from tomorrow. It’s unlikely the league would have approved the Kings deal otherwise.
Of course, this is the regional sports industry which has become notorious for unpredictable twists and turns. So we’ll have to see how the NHL-Diamond Sports relationship plays out in the next three weeks. And let’s not forget that Diamond this fall must negotiate carriage renewals with DIRECTV and Comcast and failure to land both could jeopardize the company’s plans to carry the NHL, MLB and NBA.
Tom, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann