North American ice hockey’s NHL and Diamond Sports Group (DSG), the largest owner of regional sports networks (RSNs) in the US, have agreed a deal to keep local broadcasts of 11 franchises on Bally Sports until the end of the season.
The agreement was contained in a court filing made on Wednesday (December 21) and is subject to court approval.
DSG has been navigating bankruptcy proceedings since March amid significant financial losses caused by the initial $10.6 billion it paid to purchase rights for 21 US sports teams from the Fox network in 2019.
Court filings had shown its RSNs had also lost 22 million subscribers and $810 million in revenue over the last four years.
DSG has since separated from Sinclair Broadcast Group to become a standalone company.
The 11 NHL teams currently on Bally Sports are the Anaheim Ducks, Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Dallas Stars, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Los Angeles Kings, Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues, and Tampa Bay Lightning.
While there will be a reduction in rights payments for some teams, the local rights for those 11 franchises will revert back to the NHL at the end of this season.
Last month, DSG reached a similar agreement with basketball’s NBA to retain local broadcasts of 15 teams on the Bally Sports network until the end of the season.
In Major League Baseball (MLB), however, the league had to take over the broadcasts of the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks games last season after agreements could not be reached.
DSG is understood to be in discussions with MLB on restructured agreements for the 2024 season with as many as 11 teams, with the next court hearing scheduled for January 10.
The Diamondbacks are owed $24.6 million by the broadcaster, while the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes are suing DSG to reclaim almost $18 million in unpaid rights fees.
DSG did, however, agree to a multi-year local broadcast agreement with the LA Kings in September.
It was reported earlier this week that Amazon, the global tech and retail giant, is reportedly in talks to invest in DSG as it looks to boost its live sports offering.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the two entities are “actively” in negotiations over a strategic investment and multi-year streaming partnership. Should a deal go through, Amazon’s Prime Video service will become the streaming home for rights held by DSG.