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Diamond Sports Group Approved for $450M in Debt Financing

During Monday’s hearing, Lopez also approved an amended management services agreement between Diamond and its parent company, Sinclair.

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Courtesy: Diamond Sports Group

Diamond Sports Group’s bid to garner $450 million in debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing was approved by Houston bankruptcy court judge Christopher Lopez on Monday. As the company looks to exit its Ch. 11 bankruptcy and actualize a proposed restructuring, this remuneration will be used in various manners to expedite the process. According to the terms of the restructuring agreement with its shareholders, the Sinclair subsidiary will utilize $350 million of these funds to pay its first-lien debt holders. The remainder of this funding will be transferred to the company’s balance sheet as it continues to broadcast games for teams in the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball until the end of their respective seasons.

During Monday’s hearing, Lopez also approved an amended management services agreement between Diamond and its parent company, which it sued earlier in the bankruptcy process for misconduct. Under terms of this pact, the litigation will be dropped in exchange for a cash payment of $495 million. Final details of the management services agreement could be determined within the coming days.

With both of these factored together, Diamond is ostensibly moving closer to a path out of bankruptcy. Judge Lopez referred to the progress in finding a resolution as “another huge step forward in the debtors’ emerging from Chapter 11.” Part of the restructuring agreement involves Amazon, which agreed to pay $115 million in convertible notes following the conclusion of Diamond’s bankruptcy. These notes are expected to be used to pay back some of the $450 million it received in DIP financing.

Junior creditors are expected to assume operations of the subsidiary if it is able to emerge and execute its restructuring support agreement (RSA). The restructuring process has been agreed on with over 85% of the company’s first lien debt holders, more than 50% of its second lien debt holders and more than 66% of unsecured bond holders.

Diamond will continue to broadcast 12 Major League Baseball teams during the 2024 season and is presenting various spring training games over the next month. The San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks will continue to utilize the league’s local media department to produce and disseminate games while also offering direct-to-consumer offerings. Ahead of the regular season, Diamond reached agreements with the Cleveland Guardians, Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers on contracts to broadcast their games on linear television. After the season concludes, the local rights for MLB teams in Diamond’s portfolio will expire. The course of action that will take place thereafter remains unknown at this time.

The company reached agreements with the NBA and NHL on plans to return rights to the leagues following the end of the seasons and reportedly discussed such a deal with MLB. If the finalized restructuring support agreement is approved, however, it would retain those rights and move the contracts back to how they were originally structured. Nonetheless, the NBA will be able to reacquire its streaming rights at the end of the season. Moreover, Diamond only has streaming rights for five of the MLB teams it currently broadcasts.

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ESPN Names NFL Draft Broadcast Teams; Nick Saban to Debut on ABC

ABC will feature the College GameDay crew of Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard, who will be joined by former Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who will join the crew this fall.

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Logo for the 2024 NFL Draft

ESPN has announced their commentator teams for their extensive coverage of the NFL Draft. Coverage will take place on both ESPN and ABC as well as ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes.

The NFL Draft takes place April 25-27 and on the first two days, ABC will feature the College GameDay crew of Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard, who will be joined by former Alabama head coach Nick Saban, who will join the crew this fall. Field Yates, Laura Rutledge and Pete Thamel will also be part of the ABC team.

On ESPN, Mike Greenberg will host alongside Mel Kiper, Jr., Booger McFarland, Louis Riddick, Molly McGrath and Adam Schefter. Both ESPN and ABC will start coverage on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET and on Friday at 7 p.m. ET.

A number of ESPN football reporters will also report from various team sites including Courtney Cronin who will be with the Chicago Bears who have the No. 1 overall pick.

ESPN Radio will feature Chris Canty and Chris Carlin along with Ian Fitsimmons, Jordan Reid and Mike Tannenbaum. ESPN Deportes will have a team of Sebastian M. Christensen, Carols Nava, Miguel Pasquel, Eduardo Varela and Pablo Viruega.

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DraftKings Network to Introduce ‘Good Follow’ Women-Led Show on June 7

“Engagement with women’s sports is at an all-time high, and we couldn’t be more excited to expand our programming to include a women-centric sports show to our content portfolio.”

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Courtesy: DraftKings

DraftKings Network will be introducing a new one-hour, weekly women-led sports show, adding to its slate of sports content and programming. The show will be titled Good Follow and debut on June 7 at 8 p.m. EST on DraftKings Network. Award-winning content creator Megan Reyes has been named the host of the show, which will blend news and pre-produced segments into interviews and discussion surrounding women’s sports. Additionally, former Texas Southern University golfer Logan Hackett will contribute to the show and look at the biggest events in sports as well.

“Engagement with women’s sports is at an all-time high, and we couldn’t be more excited to expand our programming to include a women-centric sports show to our content portfolio,” Stacie McCollum, vice president of content at DraftKings, said in a statement. “At the core, a ‘Good Follow’ is someone who unapologetically moves culture forward within or adjacent to women’s sports. Our approach to this show aligns with growth trends we’re seeing within the space and from our customers as they interact with women’s sports across all our products.”

Ahead of the program’s debut on DraftKings Network, the show will be posted on social media platforms, including Instagram, X, Facebook and TikTok, for daily women’s sports content. This will include coverage from the WNBA Draft on April 15, which will take place from the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, N.Y. Lucy Rohden and other contributing personalities from Meadowlark Media will be on site for coverage to record content and interviews with draftees into the league. Furthermore, there will be additional behind-the-scenes features and access to those making an impact in women’s sports.

DraftKings Network is a free ad-supported television (FAST) channel that is available to watch for free through various services, including Samsung TV Plus, The Roku Channel and Google TV. Consumers can also find the programming on DKNetwork.com and YouTube and as audio on major podcasting platforms.

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ESPN Films Creating Stuart Scott ‘30 for 30’

“ The 30 for 30 film will explore Scott’s rise up the ranks at ESPN, his influence on media and culture, a painful divorce and his fight against cancer, which ultimately took his life.”

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ESPN Films has announced plans for an upcoming 30 for 30 documentary on former SportsCenter star Stuart Scott. The film will be directed by Andre Gaines.

According to Deadline, the film will detail how Scott shattered preconceived notions of how on-air talent were expected to look, talk, act, and think. It’ll also highlight how hip-hop and Black culture were brought into the sports media mainstream.

“Stuart Scott transcended broadcasting, journalism, sports and culture in ways that we’re only beginning to really understand and appreciate now,” said Andre Gaines. “He made his mark on so many people, especially young black men, and his legend has only grown since his passing. The opportunity I’ve had now to examine his life, visit his home, get to know his daughters Taelor and Sydni, and understand how incredibly vast and rich a life Stuart lived, I can only hope that audiences find the same catharsis I’ve already experienced in making this film.”

Vice President and Executive Producer of ESPN Films Marsha Cooke added, “We pride ourselves on telling the stories of true originals who changed the world, and Stuart epitomized that in so many ways. This film is the perfect tribute to a man who touched lives in front of and behind the camera. Andre Gaines has begun crafting a film that will shine a new light on who Stuart really was–from his relationship with Taelor and Sydni to the many people who saw the world differently just from spending time with him. The film will be Stuart through and through–funny, smart, edgy, touching, and transformational.”

Scott passed away at the age of 49 in January 2015 following a battle with cancer. His style and memorable catchphrases helped ESPN attract new fans, influence broadcasters, and put a modern twist on the network’s signature show.

The 30 for 30 film will explore his rise up the ranks at ESPN, his influence on media and culture, the pain of a divorce and his fight with cancer that ultimately took his life. Scott’s daughters Taelor and Syndi will also lend their voices to the tribute to their father.

A release date has not yet been announced.

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