Diamond Sports Group, Bally Sports Arizona’s parent company, announced that it will cease operations of its Arizona regional sports network (RSN) on October 20, 2023. The decision comes amid ongoing financial struggles for the company, which has been grappling with rising costs and declining viewership.
Financial Struggles and Impact on Local Fans
Bally Sports Arizona has been struggling financially for several years, and the company has been unable to reach agreements with its broadcast rights partners. In July 2023, the network lost the rights to broadcast Arizona Diamondbacks games, and in August 2023, the network lost the rights to broadcast Phoenix Suns and Mercury games.
The loss of these broadcast rights has been a major blow to Bally Sports Arizona, and the network has been operating at a significant loss. The company has been attempting to negotiate new broadcast rights agreements, but it has been unable to reach terms with any of the teams.
The decision to cease operations will have a significant impact on local fans, who will no longer be able to watch their favorite teams on the network. Bally Sports Arizona has been the only provider of live coverage of Diamondbacks, Suns, and Mercury games in the Arizona market, and the loss of the network will leave fans with limited options for watching these teams.
Impact on Employees
The decision to cease operations will also have a significant impact on Bally Sports Arizona’s employees. The network has not yet announced how many employees will be affected by the shutdown, but it is likely that a significant number of jobs will be lost.
Bally Sports Arizona is one of several RSNs that have been struggling financially in recent years. The rise of streaming services has led to a decline in viewership for traditional TV, and RSNs have been particularly hard hit by this trend. The loss of Bally Sports Arizona is a sign that the RSN industry is facing significant challenges.
What’s Next for Diamondbacks, Suns, and Mercury
The Diamondbacks, Suns, and Mercury are now in search of new broadcast partners. It is unclear who will pick up the rights to broadcast these teams, but it is possible that they will be able to reach agreements with streaming services or national TV networks.
The loss of Bally Sports Arizona is a major setback for these teams, but it is also an opportunity for them to explore new broadcast options that could reach a wider audience.
The future of regional sports networks is uncertain, but the decision to cease operations of Bally Sports Arizona is a sign that the industry is facing significant challenges. It is possible that more RSNs will be forced to close in the coming years, as the industry struggles to adapt to the changing landscape of television.