News Corporation has acquired a 49% stake in the YES Network, the New York-based sports channel that has exclusive TV rights to New York Yankees baseball games (through 2042!) and Brooklyn Nets basketball. As part of the deal News Corp. can acquire an additional stake in the company in three years, bringing its ownership to 80% of the network.
It isn’t immediately clear what the acquisition means for News Corp.’s plans to launch a national sports network, which it is calling “Fox Sports 1.” In September I reported that News Corp. was moving forward with the channel, and had filed trademark applications for “Fox Sports 1″ and ‘The 1″ among other things. News Corp. is still believed to be moving forward with the channel, even as the company refuses to officially acknowledge that it is doing so.
Fox Sports has even gone so far as to design a logo for the channel, which it filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office in early October. You can see the logo in the graphic above. Update: Fox Sports has also registered FoxSports1.com and has secured the Twitter handle @FoxSports1.
“We’ve long been a believer in the unique appeal of sports entertainment,” said News Corp. deputy COO James Murdoch in a statement. “Partnering upstream with rights holders is even more important today in the dynamic media marketplace in which we compete. This is a tremendous opportunity to enhance News Corporation’s industry-leading portfolio of sports properties, while also strategically re-entering the New York market.”