The Dallas Mavericks are one of 15 NBA teams that use Bally Sports as their television provider and the partnership is on the edge of a breakup.
Bally Sports launched on March 31, 2021, the network took over the regional sports coverage from Fox Sports. This change occurred as part of an acquisition by Sinclair Broadcast Group, parent company of Diamond Sports, which resulted in the rebranding of these networks.
Diamond Sports, owner of Bally Sports, missed a $140 million interest payment in February earlier this year and has been in a financial crisis as they have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March. The company had debt of $8.67 billion. Not only is the company in financial distress, the contentment from customers and professional teams have declined.
“If the court approves everything, we are done with Bally after this season” Mark Cuban tells me on his stance with the Bally Sports and Dallas Mavericks partnership.
Mavericks fans have expressed their unhappiness with Bally Sports for multiple reasons and it continues to grow each year.
Some fans experienced the challenges of accessing games due to distribution disputes with cable/satellite providers, leading to blackout rules in watching the Mavericks. Certain games or content might be blacked out in specific regions, frustrating fans who want to watch the team play but are unable to do so.
Concerns about the streaming quality and overall viewing experience have also been raised online, impacting the user experience of watching games. Some viewers have noted changes in the quality of coverage after the transition from Fox Sports to Bally Sports, leading to dissatisfaction with the production value. These issues have contributed to a negative perception of Bally Sports among Mavericks fans.
Bally Sports Southwest provides coverage for the Dallas Mavericks, Texas Rangers, Dallas Stars and Dallas Wings.
It was reported by Dallas Morning News that the Texas Rangers in the process of ending their relationship with Bally Sports after the 2024 season pending approval.
There are advantages and drawbacks when parting ways with a television company who has rights to your games. The positives start with being able to reach more homes, moving to a different network that can provide easier access to games, opposed to exclusive cable exclusivity.
A new network might offer more opportunities for ads and partnerships in broadcasting, comparative to a network that is in a downward spiral. A switch could lead to better production quality and the ultimate goal of enhancing the viewer experience to fans. Parting ways with Bally Sports Southwest could offer the Mavericks a stable long-term partner or creating a network of their own while providing the team more visibility in the metroplex. and potentially a wider audience, depending on their new television coverage arrangements.
Some drawbacks could include the challenges during the transition period. Changing to a new network could involve growing pains that first-time networks experience. That can be sustaining the viewership of loyal Bally Sports consumers or server being down in the first handful of games due to the demand of users in streaming the product.
The positives outweigh the negatives as the overall reputation of Bally Sports is at an all-time low. The reality of leaving Bally Sports would largely depend on the court approval, allowing Mavericks to go in another direction.
Mavericks fans should expect to see changes in 2024 as the organization is exploring new ways to watch games for next season.