Sinclair to Acquire 21 Fox Regional Sports Networks from Disney For $10B+
Last week it was reported that Sinclair was likely the top bidder for 21 Fox Regional Sports Networks (RSNs), which were acquired by Disney in their acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Now, it appears that the deal, which appears to exceed $10 Billion, will be announced as soon as tomorrow.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the bid surpassed that of both Liberty Media who jointly bid with Major League Baseball (MLB), as well as Ice Cube’s Big3 Basketball league — who has teamed up with investment bank Macquarie Group and entrepreneur Carolyn Rafaelian, and celebrities like Magic Johnson, Will Smith, Serena Williams, and Snoop Dog.
Last month, Disney sold Fox-owned YES Network back to the New York Yankees in a joint bid with Sinclair and Amazon valuing the network at $4 billion. Sinclair also partner with the Chicago Cubs on a new RSN called Marquis, which will be launching next season.
The auction process, which was kicked off as a result of Disney’s requirement to divest the networks, was originally expected to fetch $20B for the channels. After acquiring and closing their deal 21st Century Fox on March 19th, Disney had just 90 days to divest of the Fox-owned Regional Sports Networks (RSN).
While many believe Regional Sports Networks are a declining asset, Sinclair will hope to pair them with their nearly 200 locally owned affiliates, as well as [The Tennis Channel], Stadium. It is unclear how this will affect carriage deals with the various Live TV Streaming Services. While many of those agreements span multiple years, they will have to be renegotiated at some point. Last May, Sinclair locals were pulled from PlayStation Vue — which didn’t see them return until September.