MHSAA confident it will continue to work with Bally Sports Detroit

Published 10:01 am Friday, March 17, 2023

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NILES — Diamond Sports Group, which operates regional sports networks such as Bally Sports Detroit, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday.

Diamond Sports Group, a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcasting Group, has the rights to 14 major league teams including the Detroit Tigers. Bally Sports Detroit broadcasts not only Tiger games, but Detroit Piston and Detroit Red Wings games.

Bally Sports Detroit also airs the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Selection Sunday Show and the football and basketball state finals. Neither will be affected according to Geoff Kimmerly, media and contend coordinator for the MHSAA.

“We are confident in our discussions with Bally Sports Detroit that we will be able to continue working together over the next two weeks and also into the future,” he said.

Kimmerly added that the MHSAA expects to stay with Bally Sports Detroit for basketball and football moving forward.

Diamond Sports Group issued a statement Tuesday morning announcing the move.

“The DSG Board of Managers has been evaluating strategic opportunities with the support of its advisors and in coordination with creditors to position the company for long-term success and has determined that the best path forward for the company and its stakeholders is to restructure through a Chapter 11 process,” said David Preschlack, CEO of Diamond, in that statement.

“We are utilizing this process to reset our capital structure and strengthen our balance sheet through the elimination of approximately $8 billion of debt. The financial flexibility attained through this restructuring will allow DSG to evolve our business while continuing to provide exceptional live sports productions for our fans.”

Preshlack said he expects Diamond Sports Group and Bally Sports to continue to operate during the Chapter 11 process. Diamond Sports announced it has approximately $425 million in cash to fund its business and the restructuring. As of Sept. 30, 2022, Diamond Sports Group had a debt of $8.67 million. The group also had approximately $1 billion in rights payments due the first quarter of 2023, mainly to Major League Baseball teams.

The MLB also released a statement Tuesday saying it stands ready to take over production and distribution of games in regional markets should Diamond Sports Group be unable to continue to do so.

“Diamond Sports Group’s bankruptcy declaration today is an unfortunate development that we have been expecting,” the statement read. “Despite Diamond’s economic situation, there is every expectation that they will continue televising all games they are committed to during the bankruptcy process. Major League Baseball is ready to produce and distribute games to fans in their local markets in the event Diamond or any other regional sports network is unable to do so as required by their agreement with our clubs. Having streamed live games on MLB.TV for more than 20 years and producing live games for MLB Network since 2008, we have the experience and capabilities to deliver games to fans uninterrupted.”