[NHL] Commissioner Gary Bettman has his annual media address on Saturday. I’d expect him to say something along the lines of, “We’re going to figure it out,” or “I’m not worried” when it comes to the Bally’s/Diamond Sports potential bankruptcy, but teams across the NHL, NBA and MLB warily eye this storyline.
Bloomberg reported last week
that Sinclair, which owns the company and holds $55 billion in sports media rights, is prepared to skip a $140-million interest payment next month. The big question is: where does this take us? In the NHL, Bally’s broadcasts games for Anaheim, Arizona
, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis and Tampa Bay. There are a lot of unanswered questions, first among them being: Will Sinclair try to cut back payments or cut contracts outright under bankruptcy? If so, what could that mean for payments to teams and, as an extension of that, the salary cap?
A couple of sources indicate that there isn’t a clear answer to these questions, but the affected teams are prepared for the possibility of some financial pain. We all knew that cord cutting would push teams closer to their own streaming plans. We’re moving closer to that, but the worry has always been if streaming your own content will ever make “rights-fee” money. MLB in particular did big business off the regional television model because it’s the big summer sport. Fills up hours and hours of programming when there’s not a lot of competition. One exec called this “the biggest sports story no one is paying attention to.”