Diamond Sports Group, the Sinclair subsidiary that controls the regional sports networks for 42 teams across Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association, announced that it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday night, three days before the end of a 30-day grace period it entered into with creditors.
As part of a news release, Diamond, which has more than $8 billion in debt, said it “intends to use the proceedings to restructure and strengthen its balance sheet” and that the RSNs “will continue to operate in the ordinary course during the Chapter 11 process.” The company added that it possesses $425 million of cash in order to continue funding its business during the process.
MLB, whose teams draw significant revenues from its RSN deals with companies like Sinclair, is the most directly impacted by Diamond’s situation, given that its season will begin in less than three weeks. Diamond owns the rights to 14 major league teams and must continue to pay them their rights fees; otherwise, teams would be free to break their contracts, at which point MLB might take over broadcasting duties
To this point, Diamond has made payments to all its teams except the Arizona Diamondbacks, with whom they recently entered a contractual grace period. Other teams with Diamond, which run their broadcasts under the name Bally, include: the Detroit Tigers; Miami Marlins; Cleveland Guardians; Kansas City Royals; St. Louis Cardinals; Minnesota Twins; Cincinnati Reds; San Diego Padres; Los Angeles Angels; Atlanta Braves; Texas Rangers; Tampa Bay Rays; and Milwaukee Brewers.