AT&T SportsNet has informed team partners, such as the Jazz and Rockets, that it will shut down at the end of next, as relayed by Andy Larsen of the Salt Lake Tribune.
Jazz and Rockets games will still be available regionally for the remainder of the season. Both teams will need to find a new regional broadcast partner next year, though.
And they aren’t alone. Diamond Sports, which owns the Bally Sports regional networks, is expected to file for bankruptcy before long. Bally Sports carries local broadcasts of 16 NBA teams.
As for AT&T SportsNet, it appears the network is shutting down in Utah, Colorado, Pittsburgh and Houston. Parent company Warner Bros. Discovery will not fund the shortfall, Larsen noted.
“AT&T SportsNet has given teams a March 31 deadline to negotiate agreements to take over their broadcast rights moving forward, or else risk losing control of those rights in AT&T SportsNet’s potential Chapter 7 bankruptcy,” Larsen wrote.
In the event AT&T SportsNet were to collapse before the end of the regular season, the Jazz will work with other local stations to carry their games until another broadcast partner is found, per Larsen. “Even in the AT&T era, the Jazz have controlled the production of their broadcasts, so switching which channel they’re aired on would be a relatively simple process,” he wrote.
It is believed the Rockets would work out a similar arrangement.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has addressed the Bally Sports issue and indicated the entire league has a contingency plan in place. It also has been among the talking points as the league and players union work on a new collective-bargaining agreement (full post).