Yankees Partner With Sinclair, Amazon To Buy YES Network
Disney has "sold its 80% interest in the YES Network" to an investment group led by the Yankees and Sinclair Broadcast Group for $3.47B, according to Richard Morgan of the N.Y. POST. The new owners of YES also "include Amazon and investment firms including RedBird Capital, Blackstone and Mubadala Capital." The Yankees "already owned a 20% stake in YES" (N.Y. POST, 8/30). BLOOMBERG NEWS' Soper & Novy-Williams noted Disney "acquired majority ownership of the YES Network" as part of its $71B takeover of Fox assets earlier this year. But the Yankees’ owners had an "option to buy out that stake and held lengthy talks leading up to Thursday’s announcement." Sinclair will now own 20% of YES. The Yankees will have the largest piece, with 26%, while Amazon will have 15%, "with the right to buy more." The financial investors will "roughly split the remaining 39%" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 8/30). Sinclair said that it funded YES "through its investment in Diamond Sports Group, the wholly owned subsidiary that bought" the 21 RSNs and was formed with Weather Channel Owner Byron Allen (BALTIMORE SUN, 8/30). YES President Jon Litner will "stay on in his current role to ensure continuity" and "signed a new contract with the deal's closure." Sinclair will also "play a role in YES Network's distribution discussions in the future" (CABLEFAX.com, 8/30).
MLB POLICY CHANGE COMING? Asked how the deal might affect the digital streaming rights to Yankees games within the team's market, club President Randy Levine said that he expected MLB to "announce changes to its policy soon." The AP's Jake Seiner noted teams "cannot currently sell digital rights to local broadcasts." Levine: "You should just stay tuned because I think the commissioner will be speaking about that in the near future." MLB declined to comment (AP, 8/29).
“This transaction brings @YESNetwork & all of its popular programming even closer to the organization that inspired its very development.... We look forward to greatly expanding the way that sports content is delivered & consumed by fans everywhere.” - Hal Steinbrenner pic.twitter.com/paatx4m9bx— New York Yankees (@Yankees) August 29, 2019