Amazon Considers Investment in Diamond to Expand in Regional Sports Network Operations

Simultaneously with a prospective acquisition of streaming platforms Disney and Netflix, global e-commerce giant Amazon considers options to invest in sports content. As Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reports, Amazon is negotiating the respective move with the biggest regional-sports programmer Diamond Sports Group (DSG).

Multiyear Partnership:

As reported, the DSG portfolio including 40 major sports teams across the country may now be available for strategic investment from Amazon after the DSG filed for bankruptcy earlier in 2023.  The strategic collaboration would reportedly involve a multiyear partnership between the two companies.The closure of such agreement would make the Amazon’s Prime Video platform the streaming home for Diamond’s games, according to WSJ.

DSG Looking To Stave Off Liquidation:

As the DSG has the local rights to a considerable number of teams in Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and the National Hockey League, the company will use its existing partnerships to continue operating its cable networks. According to WSJ, the details on the Amazon’s planned investment value are still unknown. The Diamond Sports Group has reportedly secured support from a group of creditors for the negotiations. If an agreement is reached, the company may reportedly use it to stave off liquidation. Though, any transaction will be pending approval of the bankruptcy court, as WSJ reports.

Amazon Looking For NBA Game Coverage:

On the other hand, Amazon is reportedly looking to close a deal to broadcast NBA games. Following the effective deals with MLB and NBA streaming services, the addition of popular local teams through Diamond would propel Amazon’s Prime Video platform. WSJ reports that the giant company has already been present in the regional-sports-network business as it has a stake in the YES Network covering New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets.

Sports Network Operations Extension:

The prospective deal with the DSG would come after the sports-network operator filed for bankruptcy in March 2023 as consumers reduced cable subscriptions in favor of streaming services.  The company entered chapter 11 in mid-March with an aim to restructure more than $8 billion of debt to be able to emerge from bankruptcy with a stable financial and operating strategy. The DSG has recently extended the contracts with the NBA,Comcast and DirecTV, and reportedly expects to have the NHL contracts extended soon.

Support from Creditors:

As indicated, the latest negotiations with Amazon are supported by the selected creditors, including PGIM, the money-management vertical of the insurer Prudential; Fidelity Investments; hedge funds like Mudrick Capital Management, and more. According to the source, some creditors suggest a wind-down of the business, while others would rather see the DSG renewing negotiations on the existing contracts to move towards solvency. At the same time, Amazon seems to be using the situation to keep weighing its investment bid.