MLB Tells Bankruptcy Court Diamond In Trouble As Bally/Comcast Row Continues

As Atlanta Comcast customers cope through a second full week without Braves baseball, Major League Baseball is tightening the screws on the company that provides the games to Comcast viewers in Atlanta, Diamond Sports Group.

Diamond operates as Bally Sports, and they are in a ongoing dispute with Comcast (or Xfinity as it’s known to Comcast cable customers), which has led to Bally being pulled from the Comcast cable lineup.

But MLB has apparently had it with the standoff and issued a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, saying the battle is making the feared shutdown of Diamond a major possibility.

“It is highly likely that the loss of carriage of the debtor’s [Diamond] broadcasts by Comcast, and the resulting loss of licensing fees from Comcast, will render the [reorganization] plan unconformable, thereby wasting time and estate resources to the detriment of MLB, the signatory clubs, and other interested parties,” said the MLB in the filing. They added that Diamond should not be allowed to “stumble” through the restructuring process and that it was unlikely that the company would survive Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Although they have not filed official legal arguments themselves, The NBA and NHL, who also have deals with Diamond, also commented on the regional sports network’s problems. The NBA said it had “more questions than answers” and questioned whether Diamond could provide an operating plan. The NHL said they informed Diamond they needed to resolve their issues and “time is of the essence.”

Front Office Sports reports that the Comcast/Diamond dispute remains stalemated with “no recent movement” in talks between the two companies. The absence of Bally Sports on Comcast, the top cable provider in Atlanta (and the non-existence of Bally on streaming services YouTube TV, Hulu, and other services) means many Atlanta Braves fans can’t see the games on television. Even the video screens at Truist Park show blackout disclaimers on them, according to press reports.

Diamond has not responded to MLB’s complaint, according to FOS. The website also noted that Diamond is trying to rebrand the networks from its current naming rights holder Bally. The company is also seeking to change the deadline for objections to the reorganization play from May 22 to June 5.