Major League Baseball rejects Amazon’s $150M bid to save bankrupt Diamond Sports: sources

Major League Baseball rejected an offer of a roughly $150 million lifeline extended by Amazon to the nation’s largest regional sports network as it languished in bankruptcy, The Post has learned.

Diamond Sports, a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcasting, filed for Chapter 11 protection last March as the landscape for the RSN continued to suffer seismic shifts due to cord-cutting and subsequent loss of advertising revenue, as The Post previously reported.

Amazon tried to come to Diamond’s aid last month, offering to invest about $150 million in the company and take over streaming for the 11 baseball teams it carries, which include the World Series champion Texas Rangers, Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals, a source close to the situation told The Post.

However, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred rejected the proposal ahead of a bankruptcy hearing scheduled for Wednesday, the insider said.

“They turned it down because Amazon wanted a streaming deal for more than a year,” the source told The Post.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred advocated for Amazon’s deal to invest in Diamond so that MLB could eventually strike its own deal with Amazon in 2025. Getty Images

“Manfred said if you want a digital deal, he’ll be with us.”

MLB and Amazon declined to comment.

At an upcoming bankruptcy hearing in Houston, MLB will offer Diamond a deal that reduces the media rights fees it pays for three of the 11 teams in exchange for MLB getting the digital rights to all Diamond teams in 2025, sources said .

The bankrupt company could reject MLB’s offer and still try to strike a deal with Amazon, a Diamond creditor said, but that would be difficult.

Diamond, which broadcasts matches under the Bally’s brand, currently has the digital rights to five of the 11 teams, excluding television rights.

“Diamond was trying to renegotiate with baseball to get digital rights in the long term [for all the 11 teams] so they can bring in Amazon,” the source said

But it looks like MLB wants to cut Diamond and make its own streaming deals with Amazon or Apple starting in 2025.

Both streaming giants currently have deals with MLB to broadcast select teams, including the Yankees.

Diamond’s Bally Sports has the rights to many teams, as shown on this 2019 card, although it no longer carries the Padres and Diamondbacks. Bali Sport

“I think Amazon would like to do a digital deal with Major League Baseball,” said the source familiar with the MLB discussions.

Amazon’s bid for Diamond’s portfolio — first reported by the Wall Street Journal on Dec. 18 — comes as Yankees-owned YES Network and James Dolan-controlled MSG announced Jan. 4 that they have formed a partnership that could lead to them offering Yankees, Knicks, Nets and Rangers games on the same streaming site.

Bankrupt Diamond owns the media rights to the world champion Texas Rangers and would like to sell the streaming rights to Amazon. Getty Images

There is also speculation that the combined DA and MSG may begin bidding for media rights to teams outside the area, an industry source said.

Meanwhile, the NBA and NHL have already developed plans to retain the digital rights from Diamond through the 2024-25 season.

Diamond owns the media rights to about half the NBA teams and a third of the NHL clubs.

Sinclair made its own bid to buy Diamond in exchange for RSN dropping a $1.5 billion lawsuit against the parent company for burdening it with debt and charging excessive fees, as The Post exclusively reported.

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