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12 MLB Teams Secure Deal with Diamond Sports for 2024 Broadcasts

12 MLB Teams Secure Deal with Diamond Sports for 2024 Broadcasts

Bankrupt U.S. sports broadcaster Diamond Sports Group secured agreements on Friday to broadcast Texas Rangers, Cleveland Guardians, and Minnesota Twins games in 2024. This adds to its portfolio of 12 Major League Baseball teams as it progresses with a restructuring agreement supported by Amazon.

Diamond Sports, a unit of Sinclair Broadcast operating under the Bally Sports brand, stated in bankruptcy court filings in Houston that the renewed agreements had prevented a near-to-loss scenario. It could have resulted in canceling the teams' broadcast contracts, affecting Diamond's revenue and requiring them to quickly find new broadcast arrangements for the baseball season starting in late March.

We are pleased to have reached agreements with the Cleveland Guardians, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers that work for all parties and enable us to continue delivering high-quality, live game broadcasts on Bally Sports to dedicated fans through the 2024 season,

Diamond Spokesman

The agreements finalized on Friday will enable Diamond to pay less than its previous contract rate. This allows the broadcaster to profit from the broadcast contracts for an additional year. Simultaneously, as mentioned in the court filings, it provides the teams with time to secure new television partners for 2025. The Rangers and Guardians will shorten their existing contracts, while the Twins, whose contract expired in 2023, will enter into a new one-year contract with Diamond.

Diamond will receive $450 million from its current lenders, $495 million from Sinclair, and an extra $115 million from Amazon. These funds will be used to settle debts and support ongoing operations. They initially faced liquidation but avoided it by reaching a restructuring deal with Sinclair and Amazon in January. The proposal, upon implementation, would empower Diamond Sports to exit bankruptcy with enhanced financial capabilities and solidify a partnership with Amazon Prime Video as their leading streaming service.

Amazon Acquires Streaming Rights

As part of the agreement, Amazon will acquire a minority ownership stake in Diamond. Amazon's Prime Video will stream MLB, NBA, and NHL games based on the permissions outlined in Diamond's contracts with sports teams. Currently, Diamond holds streaming rights for only five of the 12 MLB teams (Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, Kansas City Royals, Detroit Tigers, and Milwaukee Brewers) under contract. This has been a point of disagreement between Diamond Sports and MLB.

The recent agreements have shortened the duration of Diamond's broadcasting deals with MLB clubs, which are now set to end after the 2024 season. As a subsidiary of Sinclair Inc., Diamond has strengthened the teams' rights to repayment in Chapter 11 if the new agreements are breached. The financial terms of these deals were not publicly disclosed.

Last year, MLB had to step in to help broadcast San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks games after Diamond terminated telecast-rights deals with those clubs during bankruptcy.

Diamond's MLB Broadcasting Deals Restructured

The recent agreements have shortened the duration of Diamond's broadcasting deals with MLB clubs, which are now set to end after the 2024 season. As a subsidiary of Sinclair Inc., Diamond has strengthened the teams' rights to repayment in Chapter 11 if the new agreements are breached.

The financial terms of these deals were not publicly disclosed. Last year, MLB had to step in to help broadcast San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks games after Diamond terminated telecast-rights deals with those clubs during bankruptcy. Diamond, acknowledging losses on certain broadcast deals, filed for Chapter 11 to renegotiate payments to specific clubs.

Sinclair Inc., which acquired Diamond Sports from Walt Disney Co. in 2019, struggled with substantial debt and pressure due to declining cable subscriptions and rising broadcast rights costs.

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