Amazon reportedly considering investing in bankrupt Bally Sports parent Diamond

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By Aprilia Reen

Amazon reportedly considering investing in bankrupt Bally Sports parent Diamond

There may be a surprising light at the end of the bankruptcy tunnel for Bally Sports parent Diamond Sports Group. The Diamond bankruptcy proceedings have seen a lot of uncertainty over if the company will continue to exist at all for long. But they did reach recent renewals with the NBA, Comcast, and DirecTV, a NHL renewal is expected, and there’s been talk of them and MLB reaching an agreement to continue broadcasting most, if not all, of the 11 teams they still have rights to in 2024. And now, Lauren Thomas and Joe Flint of The Wall Street Journal have reported on a possible investment in Diamond from an unusual source: Amazon.

Here’s more on that from that piece:

Amazon is in talks to invest in the biggest regional-sports programmer, a move that would advance the e-commerce giant’s aggressive push into sports content as it takes on streaming rivals like Disney and Netflix.

Diamond Sports Group, which carries the games of more than 40 major sports teams across the country and filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, is actively negotiating with Amazon about a strategic investment and a multiyear streaming partnership, according to people familiar with the matter.

If an agreement is reached, Amazon’s Prime Video platform would eventually become the streaming home for Diamond’s games.

…Diamond has received support from a select group of creditors for proceeding with the talks. Any transaction is subject to bankruptcy-court approval and could still fall through.

So, if this deal does go through, it sounds like it would see over-the-top streaming for these networks shift from Bally Sports+ to Prime Video. And Amazon has dabbled in team-specific local packages before, including for some New York Yankees games through their investment in YES, for all locally-broadcast Seattle Sounders games before MLS’ league-wide deal with Apple, and for local Seattle Storm WNBA games more recently.) Meanwhile, the WSJ piece notes that the linear Bally channels would remain for now as well.

Amazon has definitely dialed up their sports involvement in recent years. That’s included deals for Thursday Night Football, ONE Championship, the WNBA, the NWSL, NASCAR, and Premier Boxing Champions. And they’ve talked about chasing NBA rights as well. But it would be quite interesting to see them get more involved on the local side with a Bally/Diamond deal.

And that might provide a way for these particular RSNs to stick around longer-term, a notable contrast from the tenor of recent talk about them. However, there have been lots of discussions of offers for Diamond, including even one from Sinclair (which spun them off last year). So this may not amount to anything in the end. We’ll see where it winds up, but it’s certainly notable to have Amazon mentioned in these talks.

[The Wall Street Journal]

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