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Volume 26 No. 5
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Amazon Bidding For All Of Disney's RSNs, YES Network Included

Amazon is “bidding for all” of the 22 RSNs that Disney is acquiring from 21st Century Fox earlier this year, according to David Faber of CNBC.com. Sources said that the tech company’s bid “includes” YES Network, which is also being bid on by the Yankees and an “unknown sovereign wealth fund.” The sources also said that 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.” Sources said that Fox “did not submit a bid in the first round," although there is "potential that it will join in the second round.” The second round of bids are “expected before year end and due diligence on the bids begins next week” (CNBC.com, 11/20). CNBC's Faber asked, “What's the plan? Keeping them on cable and collect a fee? If you’re out there as a high-paying cable customer who doesn’t necessarily want these things, the cable company says, ‘Now you can get it on Prime so we don't need to offer it any longer. We can eliminate it from the bundle.’" It is an "interesting choice on Amazon’s price, but perhaps they see opportunities for them in the sales of tickets and memorabilia, or programming, or advertising, where we know they’ve become an important player, certainly when it comes to search on the actual Amazon platform” (“Squawk on the Street,” CNBC, 11/20). SBD reported in October that Amazon was said to be interested in the RSNs (THE DAILY).

GETTING TO YES: The N.Y. Post's Andrew Marchand tweeted of Amazon potentially acquiring YES, "I don't think that is happening, as Yankees have exclusive rights to pick who they want to partner with on YES and, I was told, Amazon is not involved in that portion of deal. ... YES is the clear crown jewel, but I'm told there won't be YES Prime. Remember: the Yankees basically get to pick their partner" (TWITTER.com, 11/20).

TWITTER REAX: The Big Lead's Ryan Glasspiegel tweeted, "If Amazon gets the RSNs, they'd have this vertical integration: -half of local MLB, NBA, and NHL rights; local MLB outrates the top 10 primetime shows combined in their markets -ability to sell ads on that distribution -selling the products the ads are for." The N.Y. Times' Edmund Lee: "Does amazon think owning these RSNs will drive Prime subs? If so, that suggests it will only carry them on Prime. I can’t imagine leagues would allow that. ... If not, that means Amazon plans to keep RSNs on cable systems. If so, how does that help them?" FC Dallas VP/Media & Communications Gina Miller: "This is such an interesting deal to follow. On one hand, broadcast groups could use the RSNs to complement local programming while Amazon could be in the market to expand its sports streaming options. These RSNs hold rights to 40+ teams, making them an incredibly valuable asset." Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment producer Owen Seaton: "A potential game changer for online services."