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Volume 27 No. 30
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Sinclair Exec Talks Strategy Behind Investment In RSN Business

Sinclair Senior VP/Corporate Development Scott Shapiro called the process to acquire 21 Fox Sports RSNs via Disney over the summer “very interesting,” with “lots of twists and turns.” Shapiro, opening Day 2 of the Endeavor Streaming Sports Media & Technology conference, said, “We were pretty resolute that we were the best buyer, probably the underdog. I think we were certainly a little bit lucky that other strategic buyers were, for whatever reasons specific to them, not participating in the process.” Shapiro also hinted that Sinclair is open to further acquisitions. “We’re a consolidator,” he said. “We’ve purchased over 100 television stations in the last decade and obviously we’ve purchased 23 RSNs, and if there’s an opportunity to add in a creative way, we would very happily look at it.”

Sinclair and Amazon both recently invested in YES Network, and the reason behind Amazon’s involvement was a topic on Day 1 of the conference. Shapiro said of Amazon getting into the RSN business, “Any time you have more partners, it always gets more complex. I would encourage everybody to ask Amazon what they’re planning on doing. I think we’re excited to have them as part of the ownership group and hopefully they feel that way about us, too. They have a sports strategy just like other major media companies, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that plays out over the next couple years.”

Meanwhile, Shapiro confirmed that the Cubs’ Marquee Sports Network, which is backed by Sinclair, is on track to launch in February.