Reports: Sinclair Broadcast Group Wins Bid for Disney’s 21 Fox RSNs
TV-station operator set to become RSN behemoth with acquisition, adds to YES Network and Marquee Sports Network deals
Sinclair Broadcast Group has agreed to a deal worth more than $10 billion to acquire 21 regional sports networks from Walt Disney Co., according to reports from the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times. Sinclair, the largest TV-station operator in the U.S., is buying Fox Sports Regional Networks, which Disney acquired as part of its $71 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets and agreed to sell them in order obtain Department of Justice approval for the deal. The agreement is expected to be announced as early as Friday, according to reports.
The deal paves the way for Sinclair to become the largest force in regional sports. In addition to acquiring the 21 RSNs in this deal, Sinclair has separately partnered with the New York Yankees and Amazon to acquire YES Network (previously part of the Fox RSNs) for a reported $3.4 billion (although that sale has yet to been finalized).
In addition, Sinclair has partnered with the Chicago Cubs to launch a joint-venture regional sports network, dubbed Marquee Sports Network, in 2020. The new RSN, which will be co-owned and -operated by the Cubs and Sinclair, will be the exclusive home for all live Cubs games as part of a long-term rights deal.
Sinclair beat out other suitors for RSNs, including Liberty Media and Big 3 Basketball, according to several reports.