Apple, Amazon, Walt Disney, and YouTube have expressed interest in streaming local NBA games, potentially taking over rights now held by Bally Sports, a broadcaster in bankruptcy, reports Bloomberg.
Quoting unnamed “people familiar with the matter,” the article says the companies are open to acquiring local rights held by Diamond Sports Group, the parent company of Bally Sports, but only if they can obtain a critical mass of teams. What’s more, DirecTV, the satellite-TV provider, has also expressed interest.
Recently Bally Sports lost rights to two Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, with the Padres and Diamondbacks both not being paid. They have also lost the NBA Phoenix Suns recently as the team decided not to renew their TV contract with Bally Sports and instead will now broadcast their games for free on over-the-air TV with Gray Television.
If the Bally Sports streaming service goes under, the NBA and MLB can take over the media rights or try to sell them in a package to tech giants entering the live sports streaming wars like Apple. According to Bloomberg, any streaming deal for Apple would need to include enough team rights to make the effort worth it.
The NBA teams Bally Sports currently has contracts with the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, New Orleans Pelicans, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Memphis Grizzlies, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs. Miami Heat, and Milwaukee Bucks.
Apple currently holds rights to stream all of Major League Soccer internationally as well as two MLB games per week with Friday Night Baseball.