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YES Network is Now Officially Owned By Amazon, Sinclair, and New York Yankees

Jason Gurwin

After closing their sale of Fox Regional Sports Networks on Friday, Disney has now completed their sale of YES Network to an investor group owned by Amazon, Sinclair Media Group, and New York Yankees. The three investors will form Yankee Global Enterprises with additional capital provided by RedBird Capital.

YES Network is the most-watch regional sports network (RSN), broadcasting games covering games for the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Nets, New York City FC, and New York Liberty.

The channel is one of the 22 Fox RSNs that were acquired by Disney, and required by regulators to be divested in order to close the deal. The other Regional Sports Networks were acquired by Sinclair Media Group for $10.6B, but YES Network was carved out in a separate deal.

“There are very few sports brands in the world as great as the New York Yankees that offer impressive reach and recognition,” said Chris Ripley, President and CEO, Sinclair Broadcast Group. “We look forward to working with our partners to develop and deliver top-notch play action and sports programming for the fans.”

The purchase was for the remaining 80% of the network that the Yankees sold to Fox in 2014, when the network was valued at $3.9B. Since, the value of RSN have declined as cord-cutters have moved away from expensive cable bundles, which are often driven up by the cost of live sports. The terms of the deal places the total value of YES Network at $3.47B.

“Throughout its nearly two-decades on-air, the YES Network has set the gold standard for regional sports coverage,” said Randy Levine, President, New York Yankees. “We look forward to working with our strategic partners and our investors - RedBird Capital, Blackstone and Mubadala Capital - to expand the network in innovative and exciting ways.”

Including Amazon as an investor is interesting, and while they’re hoping to use the channels as a foray in to local streaming, but it won’t be immediate. The Yankees currently have a five year streaming license with YES Network. In the meantime the channel would still be available through Live TV Streaming Services like PlayStation Vue, fuboTV, Hulu Live TV, and YouTube TV. The length of those deals, which came as part of a broader distribution arrangement for all of Fox Regional Sports Networks is unknown.

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