Preschlack most recently had been president of NBC Sports Regional Networks and executive VP of content strategy for the NBC Sports Group and a top ESPN executive previously.
“David is the ideal person to lead Diamond at this critical point in its development,” said Randy Freer, Chairman of DSG’s Board of Managers. “David possesses a unique combination of deep sports broadcasting expertise, sound business judgment, and a track record of successfully managing relationships with major sports leagues and multichannel video programming distributors that will be invaluable as we work to realize the full potential of DSG’s Bally Sports Networks.”
The move comes after Diamond Sports posted a $1.1 billion loss in the third quarter and wrote down the value of its assets by $1 billion. Subscribers dropped 10% from a year ago and the company has cut its guidance for 2022 EBITDA by half.
Sinclair bought the Fox regional sports networks from The Walt Disney Co., taking on about $9 billion in debt. That bet turned sour a cord cutting reduced the number of subscriber to RSNs and the cost of rights continued to skyrocketing, creating a financial squeeze play.
As the new manager, Preschlack looked for positive signs at Diamond.
“Diamond is uniquely situated to create a differentiated and truly integrated regional sports offering that puts fans first by delivering live local sports in an immersive engagement environment, and I am honored to step into the role of CEO at this important moment,” Preschlack said. ”My focus over the next few months will be on fostering and strengthening the relationships with our league partners and addressing the Company’s legacy financial issues, including strengthening our balance sheet, so that we can position Diamond to drive long-term, sustainable value for our stakeholders. I look forward to working closely with my talented and dedicated colleagues to make our vision for the future a reality.”
League partners have not been entirely cooperative as Sinclair pushed a direct-to-consumer streaming app, Bally Sports Plus, as a way to reach sports fans who do not subscribe to pay TV.
Sinclair said that it will continue to provide management services to Diamond and maintain a presence on its board.
“DSG has achieved significant milestones over the past three years, including an intricate transition from Disney and Fox, a complete rebrand of the networks and the launch of a ground-breaking direct-to-consumer sports platform,” said Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley, and a member of DSG’s Board of Managers. “Consistent with the financing completed in March of this year and the company’s deconsolidation, DSG will establish its independence moving forward under David’s leadership. The management services provided by Sinclair to DSG are not impacted by this change. We look forward to our continued partnership with David and the rest of the Diamond team as the company pursues its transformation of the sports media business.” ■
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.