By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman

TV Answer Man, I know that DIRECTV and Comcast had agreements pending with the Bally Sports channels. I read one report saying they had a deal but then I read one in The Wall Street Journal that made it seem like it wasn’t certain there was a deal. What’s the deal with the deals? — Tim, Miami.
Tim, Diamond Sports, the bankrupt owner of the Bally Sports regional sports networks, faced a deadline last week to renew its carriage agreement with Comcast, according to Sport Business Journal. The company had a similar deadline to renew its deal with DIRECTV by October’s end. But the New York Post reported last Thursday (September 28) that Diamond had secured an “agreement in principle with Comcast on a carriage deal for roughly one year and has just reached a similar contract with DIRECTV.” That sounded like good news for Diamond which needs those carriage fees to make its regular payments to the NHL and NBA for the upcoming 2023/23 seasons.

But hold on. The Wall Street Journal reported last Friday (September 29) that Comcast and Diamond “are in talks to extend their current carriage deal…The cable giant is reluctant to entertain the longer-term arrangement that the company is seeking. Diamond executives feel a one-year deal is too short and likely a path to liquidation, according to other people close to the talks.” WSJ adds that Diamond “was able to extend” its deal with DIRECTV until next September. Does this mean that Diamond and Comcast are still discussing the length of its agreement and that it’s not done deal?

Neither company is offering public comment, and The Post and Wall Street Journal reports are based on sources, so we don’t know. But it is interesting that Comcast over the weekend added the Bally Sports channels to its list of channels that could be removed in October. The page is dedicated to keeping subscribers informed of possible programming changes. Based on the contract renewals page, it seems possible that Comcast and Diamond will not reach an agreement and that the channels will be pulled. But we should note that the contract renewals page has contained errors in the past so it’s not a perfect guide.

With Diamond Sports seeking an extension to file its bankruptcy reorganization plan, and NBA and NHL teams anxiously waiting for news about their payments, it says here that we should keep a close eye on the Comcast-Diamond Sports situation in the coming days.

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— Phillip Swann