By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, I read your story on Comcast negotiating a new deal with Bally Sports channels. My question is how can this affect our Bally Sports channels on DIRECTV? Will they keep carrying Bally Sports if Bally can’t get a new deal with Comcast? — Todd, Atlanta.
Todd, that’s a great question. We know that DIRECTV is negotiating a new carriage agreement with Diamond Sports, the owner of the Bally Sports regional sports networks. The current agreement is set to expire at the end of October, according to documents filed in Diamond Sports’ bankruptcy court. (The RSN company declared bankruptcy last March and it attempting to reorganize as a profitable unit.)
But while DIRECTV may be inclined to renew the deal because the satcaster emphasizes sports in its marketing efforts, news that Diamond Sports’ deal with Comcast could expire by week’s end could change everything. Sports Business Journal reports that the two companies are negotiating but it’s unclear if they will strike a deal that will satisfy its creditors, which include MLB, NHL and NBA teams which license their broadcast rights. If there’s no Comcast deal, there could be no Diamond Sports sooner than later. (SBJ also reports that Diamond’s reorganization plan must be submitted to the creditors by week’s end. Talk about pressure.)
Consequently, it’s hard to see DIRECTV making any deal with Diamond until the Comcast situation plays out. The satcaster will want to see if Diamond Sports can survive after Comcast, what terms were agreed to (if they are agreed to) and how the teams react to whatever happens between the RSN company and the nation’s largest cable operator. DIRECTV knows it might soon find itself negotiating new carriage deals with the teams/leagues instead of Diamond Sports.
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— Phillip Swann