Amazon will form a partnership with US sports broadcaster Diamond Sports Group subject to approval by the bankruptcy court.
The largest regional sports network will seemingly be able to continue broadcasting games in local US markets following the investment from the tech and e-commerce giant, with Diamond Sports holding the out-of-market rights for 15 NBA, 11 MLB and 11 NHL teams.
Diamond Sports filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2021 with debts of $8.67bn and filed for protection in March last year, leaving the US regional sports network with an uncertain future.
Amazon will hold a minority stake in Diamond Sports and will integrate its services with Prime Video for greater access of sports games that the RSN holds rights to, with regional sports also remaining on cable and satellite channels and with pricing due to be announced at a later date.
Diamond Sports CEO, David Preschlack, stated: “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.
“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.”
Along with the investment agreement between Diamond Sports and Amazon, the US broadcaster has also reached a breakthrough with its previous partner Sinclair Broadcast Group, agreeing a $495m fee to be paid to Diamond Sports to support its redevelopment and pay for creditors.
Sinclair bought the regional sports network for $10bn in 2019 from Disney, but was already in a precarious position as it had declining advertising revenue and in the midst of cord-cutting.
Whilst Diamond Sports became an independent entity from Sinclair, its parent company’s financial troubles caught up with the network, leading to the bankruptcy filing.
With Amazon now coming in to help Diamond Sports come through this, regional sports in the US will not only continue, but will give fans greater access to their favourite local teams through the integration with Prime Video.