UPDATE, 5/10, 1:45pm: At the conclusion of today's hearing, the Bankruptcy Court Judge ruled that the Phoenix Suns had VIOLATED the automatic stay laws, and VOIDED their new TV contract for next year.
Judge Christopher Lopez noted in his Order (below) that he is reserving the right to sanction the Suns by awarding attorneys' fees and costs to Bally. He also noted that the portion of the new TV deal for broadcasting the Phoenix Mercury's WNBA games is still in place.
The Phoenix Suns face a critical Game 5 in their playoffs series, on the Denver Nuggets' home court.
Tomorrow morning, the Phoenix Suns face a critical hearing, in Bally Sports' home Bankruptcy Court. And, instead of Book, KD, Ayton, CP and crew, the team will rely only on DC to carry the workload.
The issue is whether or not the Suns violated the Bankruptcy Code's Automatic Stay by prematurely entering into a new broadcasting agreement for next season's games. Once Bally's parent company (Diamond Sports) filed for bankrupcty protection, other parties are limited in the actions involving Bally that they can take.
Even though Bally was done covering Suns' games at the end of the regular season last month, they claim that the contract was valid through the conclusion of the entire NBA season and that they have a right to try to match any other broadcasting rights offer.
The Suns Executive Vice President Dan Costello is expected to testify, and told the court yesterday that the new contract has a clause stating that it is subject to Bally's rights. Bally's replied today that this is the first they have heard of that, and that it the Suns' "belated sleight of hand cannot camouflage the fact that the Suns have already confirmed through their actions that they have no intention of complying with those backend rights, and actions speak louder than words."
The Bankruptcy Court judge will conduct an evidentiary hearing tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the judge today ordered Bally's to make (another) disgorgable payment to the Arizona Diamondbacks this week. The network continues to broadcast Diamondbacks games, and their dispute in Bankruptcy Court continues.
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