Diamond Sports' reorg confirmation hearing postponed to late July

Diamond Sports Group's 14-month-long saga through bankruptcy court will extend a bit further. Diamond, which provides regional broadcasts throughout the country under the name Bally Sports, pushed its confirmation hearing back by about six weeks, from June 18 to July 29 and 30, according to a notice filed on Thursday.

The confirmation hearing, scheduled for 10 a.m. CT in Houston, will essentially determine whether Diamond will emerge from Chapter 11 reorganization, at which point MLB, the NBA and the NHL might finally gain some much-desired clarity with many of their regional sports networks.

A representative from Diamond said pushing the confirmation hearing back allows the company more time to negotiate deals with the NBA and the NHL and to provide financial projections that reflect its being unable to secure a new contract with Comcast, its third-largest distributor. But the delay inches the hearing closer to the start of the subsequent NBA and NHL seasons after attorneys from both leagues expressed a strong desire to avoid another year of uncertainty during last week's status conference.

"We now have certainty on the vast majority of our principal revenue streams, which is beneficial for our team and league partners and their loyal fans, following multi-year agreements with 10 of our top 12 distributors, including our recently announced deal with Fubo," a spokesperson for Diamond Sports Group wrote in a statement. "We have determined to move the hearing a few extra weeks to focus on reaching rights agreements on mutually beneficial terms with our league and team partners and to finalize an updated business plan well in advance of the upcoming NBA and NHL seasons."

Diamond has secured deals with three of its top four distributors in Charter, DirecTV and Cox, but there has been no indication that a deal with Comcast will ultimately materialize, a development an MLB lawyer called "devastating" in bankruptcy court on May 15. The lack of a new deal prompted Comcast to pull Bally Sports' local MLB broadcasts off the air at the start of May, leaving fans throughout the country without the ability to watch their teams. Those games are blacked out locally on the league's streaming arm, MLB.tv, due to exclusivity provisions.

Diamond maintains the rights for 12 baseball teams, but the Cleveland Guardians, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers are under contracts that extend only through the 2024 season. Diamond also held the rights for 16 NBA teams and 12 NHL teams, but those deals expired at the end of the 2023-24 seasons.

In its filing, Diamond also moved voting and objection deadlines for its restructuring plan back from June 5 to July 18.