Bally Sports to stick around after all – but with different name


Say so long to the name but not the RSN: Bally Sports is getting a rebrand this fall. 

It’s like Diamond’s regional sports networks are sticking around after all.

As part of its reorganization plan last week, a Houston bankruptcy judge approved two key items: a $450 million debtor-in-possession financing package and a $495 million settlement from Sinclair, who once provided financing for Diamond and was sued by them last year for “wrongfully [causing] Diamond to transfer more than $1.5 billion in cash and other consideration to or for the benefit of Sinclair.”

This means Bally Sports will continue with their NBA and NHL contracts, even though the parties agreed to part ways after this season, wiping out what turned out to be interim agreements. “The Cooperation Agreement Order shall not have become effective, the terms of the NBA Term Sheet and the NHL Term Sheet conditioned on the effectiveness of the Cooperation Agreement Order shall not have gone into effect,” Diamond said.

When Diamond does emerge from bankruptcy, Amazon will be waiting with a $115 million investment – meaning they would take over digital rights to all NBA and NHL teams involved with Bally/Diamond, barring approval from their respective leagues while Dismond uses the money to pay down their debt. However, Bally has only digital rights to five MLB teams as the league wants to start a direct-to-consumer streaming portal – but only three unidentified teams have agreed so far, and not all owners (read Cubs and White Sox) would be enthusiastic about giving up rights. Also, the digital rights to the NBA product are only renewable year-to-year as the league is looking at recapturing those rights as their national TV deals are being negotiated.

As part of the reorganization however – and per the settlement with Sinclair, the Bally name will be removed this October at the end of the MLB season and the start of the NBA and NHL ones.

According to the disclosure document, under the terms of Diamond’s $495 million settlement with Sinclair, Bally’s commercial agreement “will be rejected, and Bally’s will release and waive any claims against Diamond, including any claims for rejection damages.” That said, Diamond may “continue to use the Bally’s trade name (at no cost to Diamond) through the end of the 2024 MLB season.”

Diamond struck a deal with Bally to rename their RSNs in 2020 for $85 million, necessary as the company bought the former Fox Sports Nets from The Walt Disney Co. a year earlier, who acquired them as part of their $71 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox. Still, the Department of Justice forced Disney to divest them given their ownership of ESPN.

The branding didn’t gel with the regional sports network in the first place as here in Chicago, it’s more known as the name of the new controversial casino now operating in the city’s River North neighborhood at Medinah Temple. In 2026, Bally’s is moving to its new home at River West on the site of the soon-to-be former Chicago Tribune printing plant, as former owner Nexstar used the proceeds from the sale to Bally’s to buy 75 percent control of The CW.

Bally recently reacquired the rights to air Minnesota Twins games after letting them expire after last season – but only for the 2024 season. Bally also signed one-year deals with the Cleveland Guardians and the World Series Champion Texas Rangers. But Bally did close their RSNs in Arizona and San Diego last year, leaving their teams to find alternative means to broadcast their games.

Diamond is set to become the second media company to emerge out of bankruptcy following Audacy, whose biggest shareholder would be Soros Fund Management once the courts approve the plan.


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