Major League Baseball (MLB) has reportedly turned down Amazon's proposed $150 million rescue package for Diamond Sports Group (DSG), the operator of Bally Sports regional sports networks (RSN).
Initial reports in December indicated that Amazon and DSG were in active negotiations for a deal that would have designated Prime Video as the primary platform for local broadcasts of 40 major league sports teams in the United States. However, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred rejected the proposal, citing Amazon's insistence on a multi-year deal. Manfred reportedly prefers dealing directly with Amazon for arrangements exceeding 12 months.
DSG, burdened by debt and under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection since March 2023, aims to renegotiate its long-term media deals with league and team partners, deemed "unsustainable." The company, facing debts of up to $8 billion, has been unsuccessful in presenting a viable business plan to exit bankruptcy, despite multiple deadline extensions.
To alleviate financial woes, DSG has secured deals with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) to broadcast local games for the remainder of the 2023/24 season at a reduced rights fee. However, the rights will revert to the leagues at the conclusion of the current campaign.
MLB's opposition to further deadline extensions stems from the belief that DSG is merely stalling for time. The company's next bankruptcy court appearance is scheduled for January 10th, and securing deals with MLB, NBA, and NHL is crucial for DSG's restructuring efforts.