In a significant development, the Los Angeles Kings and Diamond Sports Group have inked a fresh agreement that will see the Kings' in-market games aired on Bally Sports West. This marks the 38th consecutive season that the Kings will feature on the regional sports network.
The deal is particularly noteworthy as it signifies a new contract for Diamond Sports, a company that sent shock waves through the professional sports industry when it declared bankruptcy earlier this year.
The multi-year agreement stipulates that 63 Kings games will be broadcast on Bally Sports West during the 2023-24 season, with an additional six games to be aired on KCAL.
The contract also grants Diamond Sports the digital rights to the Kings' games, enabling them to stream matches on their app.
However, the future of Diamond Sports remains shrouded in uncertainty, with the company currently navigating the complexities of bankruptcy court. Adding to the company's woes, it filed a lawsuit against its parent company, Sinclair Broadcasting, in July, accusing it of improperly diverting $1.5 billion.
Diamond Sports operates 19 Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) nationwide and launched a sports streaming app, Bally Sports+, in 2022. Its bankruptcy filing earlier this year sparked concerns among teams in the NHL, MLB, and NBA, who rely on Diamond's RSNs for broadcasting their games.
The primary worry was whether Diamond would be able to fulfil its contractual obligations and if the local media rights of these teams would be jeopardized.
David Preschlack, CEO of Diamond Sports, said:
“This partnership furthers our commitment to the Bally Sports West distribution markets and to providing LA Kings fans with in-depth coverage of their favourite team on multiple platforms."
“Additionally, we are encouraged by the progress we are making in our restructuring process and are hopeful that this agreement can serve as a model for future discussions with our team and league partners.”
In response to the uncertainty, Major League Baseball assumed control of broadcasts for the San Diego Padres this summer. Diamond attempted to evade making full rights payments to other MLB teams, but a judge intervened.
The NBA, while gearing up for its forthcoming season, has begun formulating contingency plans in case a Diamond RSN is unable to broadcast games for any of the 15 teams it has contracts with.
In a notable move, the Phoenix Suns parted ways with a Diamond Sports RSN this summer, opting for a blend of in-market streaming and a free over-the-air channel.
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