Advanced Television

Amazon rescues Diamond Sports

January 18, 2024

Amazon is taking a 15 per cent stake in Diamond Sports Group that owns television networks broadcasting league sports in some of the US’s biggest markets, expanding its footprint of live games into regional networks that carry NBA, NHL and MLB games.

Amazon has agreed a $115 million (€105.9m) minority investment in the largest operator of so-called regional sports networks in the US. The investment rescues Diamond as it emerges from Chapter 11 protection.

The agreement will allow Prime Video to stream programming for half of all MLB, NBA and NHL teams in North America, intensifying the tech group’s competition with the likes of Apple and Google to show live sports.

“We are thrilled to have reached a comprehensive restructuring agreement that provides a detailed framework for a reorganisation plan and substantial new financing that will enable Diamond to operate and thrive beyond 2024,” Diamond Sports CEO David Preschlack said in a statement. “We are grateful for the support from Amazon and a group of our largest creditors who clearly believe in the value-creating potential of this business. Diamond’s near-term focus will be on implementing the RSA and emerging from bankruptcy as a going concern for the benefit of our investors, our employees, our team, league and distribution partners, and the millions of fans who will continue to enjoy our broadcasts.”

Diamond was acquired from Disney for $10.6 billion, including debt, by Sinclair Broadcast Group in 2019. Subsequent challenges, including the shortening of professional sports seasons during Covid, and the broader shift by consumers to cancel cable subscriptions in favour of streaming platforms, left Diamond unable to pay down almost $9 billion in debt by the time it filed for bankruptcy in March 2023.

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