Sinclair Teams Up With Weather Channel’s Parent Company In Deal to Acquire 21 Regional Fox Sports Networks For $10.6 Billion

By A.J. Katz Comment

Local broadcast station juggernaut Sinclair has officially completed a $10.6 billion deal to acquire 21 regional Fox Sports networks that Disney had previously absorbed in the landmark $71.3 billion deal it struck with 21st Century Fox on March 20.

After making the adjustment for minority interests, Sinclair is saying that the final purchase price for the RSNs is $9.6 billion.

Disney was forced to sell the Fox RSNs in order to get the thumbs up from regulators for the Fox deal. Because Disney already owns ESPN, regulators argued, the company would have just too much of a monopoly in the sports TV sector.

In this new deal, Sinclair gets exclusive local broadcast rights to 42 teams, comprising 14 MLB teams, 16 NBA teams and 12 NHL teams.

“We are very excited about the transformational aspects the RSN acquisition will have on Sinclair and are eager to bring those opportunities to life,” Sinclair president and CEO Chris Ripley said in a statement.

The Maryland-based Sinclair, which is primarily known for its conservative news programming, has picked up the Fox RSNs via a new holding company named Diamond Sports Group.

Additionally, Entertainment Studios/The Weather Channel chairman and CEO Byron Allen becomes an equity and content partner in the Diamond Sports Group venture. Allen’s Entertainment Studios owns The Weather Channel.

Sinclair presently has a footprint in sports TV, though this deal increases it significantly. It owns the Tennis Channel and recently announced a partnership with the Chicago Cubs on a new RSN launching next year.

Sinclair purchased 21 of Fox’s 22 RSNs. What happened to No. 22? Disney ended up selling the crown jewel of Fox’s 22 regional sports networks, The YES Network, to the New York Yankees for $3.5 billion back in March. Amazon and Sinclair provided the Yanks with a significant financial lift. Prior to the Disney-Fox deal, the Yankees had already owned 20% of the network, and Fox owned the other 80%.

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