According to Fox Business the long search by the Walt Disney Company for a new owner of the 21 Fox Sports Regional Sports Networks seems to have come to an end with the Sinclair Broadcast Group being the apparent winner. The nation’s largest owner of broadcast television stations now is paying Disney a reported $10 billion for the RSN’s that include two networks in Florida.
Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida are part of that deal and Sinclair owns five stations in the state. After Disney closed their $71 billion dollar for the purchase of 21st Century Fox, after the media giant was ordered by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) last June to divest the RSNs the ESPN owners acquired in the takeover to avoid monopolizing the sports rights market.
Sinclair outbid the partnership of Major League Baseball and Formula One owners Liberty Media. But Sinclair is open to having partners in the deal and despite MLB losing in the deal they could join the deal as a minority partner.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred explained the league’s interest in acquiring the RSNs because they control broadcast rights for 14 MLB franchises: Angels, Braves, Brewers, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Indians, Marlins, Padres, Rangers, Rays, Reds, Royals, Tigers, and Twins. Those RSNs also have the rights for 16 NBA and 12 NHL teams.
Sinclair also are talking to Amazon as a partner, the duo has already joined together to help the New York Yankees repurchase the YES Network. Sinclair also is set to launch a new regional sports network with the Chicago Cubs that is coming in 2020.
They are also partners in the Chicago based Stadium network that includes the MLB, PGA and the owners of the Chicago Bulls and White Sox.