There may be a big silver lining to Sinclair’s loss of its proposed merger with Tribune. In its wake the group has shifted its strategy from TV station acquisition to nonbroadcast ventures like regional sports networks, OTT services and possibly some kind of national news service. And it’s continuing to lead the way toward ATSC 3.0, which it is convinced will multiply the value of broadcast spots through targeting, and enable lucrative new businesses like datacasting.
Byron Allen becomes an equity and content partner in the new RSN holding company, Diamond Sports Group. The RSNs includes exclusive local rights to 42 professional teams consisting of 14 Major League Baseball teams, 16 National Basketball Association teams, and 12 National Hockey League teams.
Disney’s sale of 21 regional sports networks is heating up yet again — thanks to comedian-turned-media mogul Byron Allen jumping into the already crowded and contentious race. Allen, 58, is joining forces with Sinclair Broadcast Group to bid on the RSNs.
Amazon is in talks to join Sinclair Broadcast Group in a deal to buy the 21 Fox regional sports TV networks that are being auctioned off by Disney. Sinclair is looking for Amazon’s backing as it preps a roughly $9 billion, all-cash offer for the so-called RSNs, sources say.
Sinclair Broadcast Group appears to have emerged as the leading candidate to win the auction of 21st Century Fox’s regional sports networks, having placed what people close to the deal call the top bid to acquire the properties.
Disney is still considering spinning out its RSNs to shareholders as it prepares to move forward and take final bids for the 21 sports networks on Monday.
MASN, the regional sports network owned by the Baltimore Orioles, has stopped payouts to the Washington Nationals. The Orioles are now taking the position that MLB has an ownership or financial interest in its rival.
Jim Dolan may soon have a bidder for MSG Networks, which broadcasts games for the New York Knicks, the Rangers and the Islanders. Dolan’s old pal John Malone is said to be eyeing the regional cable and satellite TV network as part of his master plan to own regional sports networks from Miami to New York, sources tell the New York Post.
An Amazon-led group of investors that includes the New York Yankees and Sinclair Broadcast Group is ready to sign a deal to buy YES Network — one of NY’s most prominent cable sports channels — for roughly $3.5 billion, according to two people close to the plans.
The Chicago Cubs are teaming with Sinclair Broadcast Group to launch a regional sports network in February 2020 that will become the exclusive television home of the Cubs. The Marquee Sports Network will air the full regular season schedule, expanded pregame and postgame coverage, classic broadcasts from the archives and other local sports programming.
The sale of the nearly two dozen of the Fox regional sports networksOpens a New Window. hampered by lowball bids, confusion over the ownership of digital rights and overly optimistic expectations by bankers on the final sales price may now be further delayed as billionaire businessman Arturo “Arte” Moreno, the owner of the Los Angeles Angels, has indicated that he would like to purchase as many as four of the RSNs.
Billionaire media mogul John Malone is cobbling together a team to bid for the Fox-owned regional sports networks being sold by Disney — and his roster will be going head-to-head against Major League Baseball.
Liberty Media has joined the bidding for the regional sports networks that Disney is trying to sell to finalize a deal with Twenty-first Century Fox, sources told CNBC. Liberty and Major League Baseball have submitted bids in the auction. Disney is selling them in order to complete its $71 billion deal to acquire Fox’s movie production and television assets, which included the regional sports networks. That deal is expected to close within weeks.
Major League Baseball is in the running to buy 21 local TV sports networks being sold by Disney, The New York Post reports. The league has teamed up with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to buy all of the networks with the exception of the YES Network, which the Yankees are expected to take hold of, sources said.
The Department of Justice is prepared to put the ball back in Disney’s court for unloading Fox’s regional sports networks, saving Disney from a fire sale and billions of dollars in losses, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation said. Justice is poised to allow Disney to spin off the control of Fox’s 22 regional sports networks to complete its $71 billion deal for Fox, one of the sources said, as opposed to finding an actual buyer.
New Fox, a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox, on Friday said it has no plans to bid for the 22 Fox regional sports networks that regulators have said Walt Disney must divest as part of its acquisition of large parts of 21st Century Fox.
Entertainment mogul Ice Cube, through his Big3 basketball league, is trying to put together a competitive bid for the Fox regional sports networks as the auction shifts into high gear. In recent weeks, the rapper approached media company Viacom Inc. for help with Big3’s bid for the 22 regional networks, according to a person close to the situation who was not authorized to comment.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the New York Yankees are in talks with Amazon and Sinclair Broadcast Group about partnering to bid for the team’s regional sports network YES, according to people familiar with the matter. Journal subscribers can read the full story here.
Disney’s auction of Fox’s chain of local sports TV networks has proven to be such a complicated process that the Mouse House has decided to offer up the networks piecemeal.
Add Major League Baseball to the list of 40-plus suitors for 21st Century Fox’s 22 regional sports TV networks for sale by Disney as a condition of clearing its $71.3 billion purchase of Fox.
For Amazon, a slate of regional sports networks would also serve as an added perk for subscribers of its Prime program, which costs $119 per year and has more than 100 million members worldwide. Prime membership in the U.S. is slowing down, but access to sports could be enough to draw in new members.
Bidding on two prime collections of local TV assets — Fox’s 22 regional sports networks and Tribune Media’s 42 TV stations and WGN America — will heat up this week in separate auctions that are expected to be concluded by year’s end. The nature of the players lining up for these properties, which include Amazon and private equity heavyweights, speaks volumes about the transformation of media economics, particularly for outlets that have historically operated with a narrow regional focus.
Bidding has begun for the 22 regional sports TV networks Disney acquired from 21st Century Fox. Amazon is bidding for all of the networks, including the YES Network, sources familiar with the matter said. In addition to Amazon, Apollo Global Management, KKR & Co, The Blackstone Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tegna also made first round bids for the full slate of networks, the sources said.
Fox Sports and NBC Sports — two of the companies that were considered the most likely bidders for all or part of the 22 Fox Sports regional sports networks being sold by Disney — did not submit bids last week when they were due, leaving the media industry to wonder who’s in.
The New York Yankees are in talks to buy back YES Network as Disney and Twenty-First Century Fox look to clear their $71.3 billion merger. It amounts to “a foregone conclusion” the Bronx Bombers will exercise their right of first refusal to buy the 80% of YES they don’t own, according to a source familiar with the talks.
21st Century Fox Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch said Thursday it is still an “open question” whether the company will buy back the regional sports networks it sold to entertainment company Walt Disney Co. in July as part of a $71 billion deal.
The Wall Street Journal reports that big media companies, sports teams, private-equity firms and rapper Ice Cube are among those kicking the tires of nearly two dozen regional sports networks that Disney is divesting as part of its $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox assets. “There’s never been an instance where a large group of these [regional sports networks] have been sold all at once,” said sports-media consultant Lee Berke. Initial bids on the channels are due Nov. 8. Journal subscribers can read the full story here.
The front-runner to buy 22 regional sports TV networks from Disney is the same company that sold them in the first place. “New Fox,” the company that will remain after Rupert Murdoch sells $71.3 billion worth of 21st Century Fox assets to Disney, is the leading contender to buy back the RSNs it “sold” to Disney as part of the larger transaction, according to people familiar with the matter.
Officials with the Detroit-based organization that owns the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings said Thursday they have put no timeline on a potential launch, but called it a natural extension of the business. The idea comes as it considers renewing or extending its deal with Fox Sports Detroit.
Disney’s sales process for Fox’ 22 RSNs took a big step forward last week when the company sent the official bid book to prospective bidders, according to several sources. Said to be more than 150 pages, the book was sent to networks, digital companies, distributors and investment banks who agreed to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Allen & Co. and JP Morgan Chase are handling the sale for Disney, sources said.
As legalized sports gambling rolls out across the nation, the people who make sports television are eager to help with a series of shows explicitly about a pursuit that has long been a major — but usually unstated — reason to watch sports TV in the first place.