About 10 months ago, it was announced that Diamond Sports Groups — a subsidiary of Sinclair Sports Group and operator of 14 regional sports networks under the Bally Sports brand — filed for voluntary bankruptcy, putting the broadcast of many future Spurs games in jeopardy.
So far, games have continued to air on Bally Sports through the 2023-24 season, but as more and more viewers move away from cable, there have been many complaints about Bally’s streaming service, Bally Sports+. Not only does it not work well, but you also need the subscription for an alternate source like YouTube TV — but that also requires its own subscription, so fans were basically paying two subscriptions for one stream. So for many fans in the blackout zones of NBA League Pass (in the Spurs case: the San Antonio and Austin areas), watching any game aired only on Bally Sports over the last year has been a nightmare.
Now, it has been announced that Diamond Sports Group and Amazon have entered a Restructuring Support Agreement, where Amazon has taken a minority stake in the company. This is significant because as part of the agreement, fans will eventually be able to watch their teams play with an Amazon Prime subscription, which should be much more reliable.
Under the terms of the RSA, Amazon also has committed to make a minority investment in Diamond and enter into a commercial arrangement to provide access to Diamond’s services via Prime Video. Under this arrangement, Prime Video will become Diamond’s primary partner through which customers will be able to purchase direct-to-consumer (DTC) access to stream local Diamond channels. Customers will be able to access all local DTC content, including live MLB, NBA and NHL games, and pre- and post-game programming, for the teams for which Diamond retains DTC rights, through Prime Video Channels.
Additional details such as when the service will become available will be announced on a later date. Assuming streaming the games on Amazon works well — Paramount+ struggled severely with NFL games this season, but Amazon Prime is much more established and should be able to handle it well — it’s surely a relief for fans to know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel in terms better viewing experiences for the future. It’s also probably a relief to Adam Silver in the NBA, as they won’t have to consider any drastic changes — like lifting the blackout zone on League Pass to accommodate fans — or started new negotiations with new providers had Bally Sports failed.
We will let you know when any future announcements are made (such as when games will become available on Prime), but in the meantime if you have been considering getting a Bally Sports+ subscription, it may not hurt to hold off for now and save that money for Amazon Prime (if you don’t already have it).