Gray Television has secured the rights to pre-season and regular-season games played by the Phoenix Suns basketball team after several weeks of legal-wrangling involving Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Diamond Sports.
The deal solidifies an announcement made in late April in which the Suns said they were breaking away from Diamond Sports and its Bally Sports regional network in favor of a multi-year agreement with Gray Television, the Arizona’s Family Sports and Entertainment Network and local television station KTVK (Channel 3).
Diamond Sports filed a legal challenge in a federal court overseeing its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case, seeking to block the deal from taking effect. In court filings, Diamond Sports said the deal infringed on the broadcaster’s current contract with the Suns, which afforded it the right of first refusal or an opportunity to counter with its own offer for the rights.
Officials with the Suns said Diamond Sports didn’t submit a counter-offer by a key deadline, paving the way for Gray Television and KTVK to air the basketball games, starting later this year.
“I am excited to be able to deliver to our Suns and Mercury fans this industry-shifting partnership with Gray Television,” Mat Ishiba, the majority owner of the Suns, said in a statement on Friday. “We’ve had an incredible off-season, making a lot of exciting moves to build the championship-caliber Suns team our fans want. Now, this deal gives more than 2.8 million homes across Arizona access to Suns and Mercury games for free.”
The deal also includes telecast rights to games played by the Phoenix Mercury basketball team.