Amazon Close to Acquiring YES Network in $3.5B Joint Bid with Yankees & Sinclair
According to reports, a group of investors led by Amazon is close to acquiring the YES Network, the Fox-owned RSN that airs live New York Yankees, Brooklyn Nets, and New York City FC games. Amazon will be joined in the bid with the New York Yankees, as well as Sinclair Media Group.
The purchase would be 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.
Amazon is 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, and Sling 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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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. Rapper Ice Cube has partnered with investment bank Macquarie Group and entrepreneur Carolyn Rafaelian in what is thought to be the leading bid for the remaining channels for ~$10B.