Sinclair Gets $115M Investment From Amazon For Diamond Sports Financial Restructuring

The ongoing drama over Sinclair's Diamond Sports Group, the largest regional sports network group, is nearing a new chapter financially -- as a new independent company -- with Amazon making a $115 million minority investment.

Amazon's deal will put Bally Sports+ -- the relatively new streaming app unit, which houses all its regional sports networks -- in the Amazon Channel store, as the primary place for access to those regional sports networks (RSNs).

Amazon has an option to invest another $50 million in the new company that will result after Diamond Sports Group emerges from bankruptcy. 

Sinclair, one of the largest U.S. TV station groups, will give Diamond Sports Group $495 million to help settle its growing array of lawsuits. 

Currently under the Bally Sports banner there are nine Major League Baseball  teams under contract for the 2024 season, including the Los Angeles Angels, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers, Florida Marlins, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and Tampa Bay Rays.



Some other baseball teams as well as those of other sports from the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League have moved to games to broadcast TV station groups.

In addition, the NBA and the NHL have struck short, one-year deals to get through their current respective seasons.

Diamond Sports Group -- as well as other regional sports groups -- has been hit with massive cord-cutting issues over the last few years, resulting in fewer pay TV subscribers and lower distribution and advertising revenue.

“Diamond has been a dark cloud over Sinclair for years now, “ writer Steven Cahall, media analyst for Wells Fargo. “While this marks the end to the legal liability, we think Sinclair's broadcast retransmission rates suffered from deals that included RSNs historically.”

“Sinclair is now trying to get those rates closer to market at a time when multichannel video program distributors are fighting back harder, and more broadcast content is moving to streaming, especially sports.”

Legacy and virtual pay TV providers have declined to take on Diamond Sports  -- and other RSN groups -- in recent years due to slim profit margins.

Diamond Sports Group looks to have a hybrid distribution model -- using some networks on cable TV systems, as well as streaming apps for other RSN activity, and broadcast TV stations.

Diamond has $8 billion in debt incurred by owner Sinclair Broadcast Group when it bought the former Fox Sports regional sports group in 2019 -- then briefly owned by Walt Disney -- for $10.6 billion.

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