The Yankees, Amazon and Sinclair Broadcast Group are set to take over the YES Network from Disney for $3.47 billion, giving the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Nets, and Arsenal FC a new owner for their television home, according to the New York Post. Those media entities will take over most of YES, 80 percent of it, with the Yankees controlling the rest.
Disney’s accepted to deal comes as it looks to offload 21 more regional sports channels spread around the whole country as it tries to make moves on 21st Century Fox assets. The fact that Disney owns ESPN would make the asset acquisitions likely legally unfeasible if the media behemoth still controlled regional sports channels.
There’s even more good news for these companies that are involved, especially because one of the driving forces behind this move is Disney hoping to stay in compliance with fair competition regulations with the new assets it wants to acquire, because the Federal Communications Commission won’t need to grant its approval. Sinclair tried to build a conservative media powerhouse by taking its growing stranglehold on local broadcast news and combining it with a $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune Media, according to the New York Post. This time, the agency won’t be able to get in the way of Sinclair getting a lucrative piece of New York sports action.
The New York Post got all the details last week while Amazon becomes more of a competitor by soon offering YES Network to stream Yankees and Nets games online thanks to the deal.
The New York Post explained that “Sinclair, which owns 193 local TV stations, also has larger ambitions. The conservative media company plans to use YES to help it sell other programming it owns, like the Tennis Channel, Stadium or science fiction network Comet, to New York cable companies, a source close to the situation said.”
The New York Yankees were in negotiations trying to back YES Network from Disney. YES is seen by over 5 million households in New York.
The Yankees and its 20 percent stake in YES had the refusal right to buy back the other 80 percent of YES from Fox, based on their 2014 agreement made when Fox purchased the shares. As reported by the New York Post, now that it is looking to sell, Disney and the Baseball team need to agree on a buyback price, or accept an offer from an impartial third party.
“They (Yankees) plan to own all 100 percent,” a source told the New York Post, “and they’re already talking to strategic and financial parties about divvying up ownership again — much like the current relationship with Fox.” Now the Yankees will have to continue sharing the YES Network with media giants, making it a match of giants in their own leagues.
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