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Of Mice and R.S.N.s

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It appears extremely unlikely that Diamond Sports will have any kind of long-term distribution deal in place with DirecTV or Comcast by the time of its bankruptcy court hearing this week. Photo: Justin Ford/Getty Images
John Ourand
April 15, 2024

The Diamond Sports saga, one of the most persistent leitmotifs in the Varsity Cinematic Universe, now appears to be entering its final chapters. Yes, regional sports network roll-ups don’t intentionally mimic Shakespeare, but this whole ordeal has become, in so many ways, a replica of his five-act dramatic structure. Bear with me…

First, there was the exposition phase, during which Bob Iger offloaded the unloved regional sports assets—which he inherited as part of his 21st Century Fox conquest—for $10 billion to Chris Ripley and Sinclair five years ago. And then, of course, there was the so-called rising action, during which Sinclair set up a subsidiary, Diamond Sports, to oversee these Bally Sports-branded R.S.N.s right as consumers were cutting cords en masse. Then came the climax, which played out in the form of an inelegant bankruptcy, followed by the falling action, which came in the form of Diamond’s $450 million bankruptcy restructuring and Amazon’s $115 million bailout. Now it’s time to figure out whether we are headed for a resolution or a catastrophe.