While a national agreement may be reached during the league’s upcoming media rights discussions, local contracts may also be reached as Diamond Sports’ bankruptcy situation gets worse process drags on. Tech companies seem to have been linked to live NBA rights for years.
Since March, the Diamond Sports Group, which owns the Bally Sports RSNs, has been going through bankruptcy and the situation gets worse. Since then, three teams have departed the Bally Sports RSNs: the Phoenix Suns willingly left for a new contract with Gray Television and Kiswe, the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres were dropped by Diamond and are now having their games produced and distributed by MLB.
Bally Sports RSNs continue to carry the local matches of 15 NBA teams, or the entire league. In contrast to MLB, Diamond has a comprehensive streaming agreement with the NBA that enables it to broadcast live NBA games on its Bally Sports+ service. amidst the bankruptcy and the situation gets worse.
The statement that digital businesses and other significant entertainment brands would be interested in NBA local rights is basically irrelevant until Comcast and/or DirecTV decide to stop carrying Diamond’s RSNs nationally.
Amazon, Apple, and other companies won’t bid for live NBA rights and only buy a few clubs, like the Hornets, Pacers, and Thunder, for example. It would make so much more sense for a business to own a bundle of at least a dozen NBA franchises in order to develop a wider, more thorough strategy for airing games locally.
According to persons with knowledge of the situation, Walt Disney Co., Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., and YouTube have indicated interest in broadcasting regional NBA matches, potentially assuming ownership of the rights currently held by a broadcaster that is insolvent.
According to one of the individuals who asked to remain anonymous because the conversations were private, the media and digital behemoths are interested to purchasing local rights currently held by Diamond Sports Group, but only if they can get a critical mass of teams. According to two persons, satellite TV provider DirecTV has also showed interest.