Bally Sports is Acquiring Atlanta Braves Rights After Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, According to Liberty Media CEO

The ballclub and MLB filed a motion to the Texas bankruptcy court that oversees Bally Sports financial difficulties.

major league baseball

Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media, spoke on how MLB teams, like the Atlanta Braves, who rely heavily on local television rights for income, are affected by the battle for regional sports networks.

Liberty Media CEO Comments on Bally Sports Bankruptcy

On a recent call, Maffei stated that the Braves receive checks from the parent company of Bally Sports, which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is affiliated with Sinclair, as well as the effect that has had on the price of the regional sports rights of MLB. This parent company is Diamond Sports Group, the owner of a regional sports network. For those who are wondering, Bally’s NJ Online Casino won’t be impacted by the closure of the sportsbook operations.

This came after Liberty Media, owned by John Malone, released its financial results for the Q2 on August 4. The company is fortunate to have a very strong market, 14 mil. online consumers, a fan following that is highly grateful for a very successful team, and a fair deal on what they are paid by Diamond or by Bally, he said.

Maffei didn't anticipate the Braves would follow Diamond Sports' decision to forgo payments to the San Diego Padres and a few other club broadcasts lately.

According to Maffei, the business believes that it is most likely their most lucrative RSN. Some of the other ones were less desirable for Bally in terms of income to cost or in terms of fan bases or territories. Thus, Bally canceled them during the bankruptcy procedures.

He noted that even if backup arrangements were in place in case things changed, the Braves intended to keep receiving payments from Bally as long as both parties uphold their contractual responsibilities. According to rumors, Diamond Sports will explore agreements to cut or eliminate payments to losing teams as it attempts to come out of bankruptcy protection.

If Bally does not maintain its contractual obligations, local Braves TV rights may become accessible to others, such as part of a new business model including streamers or similar media platforms.

Maffei countered that he doesn't believe it will occur in this case. However, if it does, there will be other options available due to the quality of their goods and the level of demand in their region, which will result in profits for the company. Diamond runs 19 RSNs under the brand of Bally Sports that broadcast games from more than half of the NBA, MLB, and NHL teams.

Braves’ Split-off

The anticipated split-off of the Braves and associated assets into a new public company, Atlanta Braves Holdings, was also finalized on July 18 by Liberty Media.

The total revenue for Atlanta Braves Holdings increased by 8% to $270 million in the three months ending June 30, with baseball revenue up by 8% to $255 million.

The Atlanta Braves baseball team, the Formula One racing series, and radio entertainment juggernaut SiriusXM are all owned by Liberty Media. For Q2, the company’s overall revenues were down only 0.18% to $2.25 billion.

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