Bally Sports eliminated its national desk, a decision that cost most of the employees on it their jobs.
Eight employees were informed of the cuts on Wednesday, a person with knowledge of the situation told Front Office Sports. The move was part of a new localized video strategy for the embattled regional sports network.
The layoffs included multiple veteran managers and writers who were hired in the years since Sinclair Broadcast Group’s heavily leveraged $9.6 billion purchase of the RSNs became official in August 2019.
Two of those impacted posted on social media that they had been laid off: Brad Evans, who had been Bally’s executive producer of gaming, and writer Maggie Hendricks.
“I am incredibly bummed, because I loved the work and the team I was on,” Hendricks wrote. “But I also plan on continuing to cover women’s basketball and Olympic sports, so I don’t think you’ve heard the last of me just yet.”
The cuts did not include hockey content creator Peter Blackburn and correspondent Annie Agar. Both were part of the now-defunct national desk, but work under multiyear contracts unlike the eight laid off.
And while Evans is no longer full-time Bally’s employee, he’s still under contract for Bally Sports’ “Live on the Line” betting show. Evans will continue to host and executive produce the show.
Diamond Sports Group — Bally Sports’ parent company and a subsidiary of Sinclair — filed for bankruptcy in March as it sought to restructure $8 billion in debt.
While the bankruptcy has certainly clouded DSG’s future, two sources told FOS that it wasn’t the reason for the layoffs. DSG has made recent hires as part of its strategy shift to provide different content and marketing for its 19 RSNs.
Beyond the bankruptcy, DSG is also suing Sinclair.
In the complaint in case this week, DSG alleged Sinclair funneled $922 million in cash out of DSG between September 2019 and December 2022. DSG also filed a lawsuit against JP Morgan for its role in the transferred funds that DSG alleged the banking firm reaped “more than $245 million in fees.”
“The transfers occurred while DSG’s business was spiraling towards bankruptcy and, with respect to all of the transfers save one, after DSG was unquestionably insolvent,” DSG attorneys wrote in the Sinclair complaint.
While it has already jettisoned the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks, DSG has a decision to make when it comes to the 27 NHL and NBA teams it has the rights to currently.
Earlier this month, DSG requested a mediator’s assistance in maneuvering through “myriad issues” related to the reorganization.