Although the Yankees already own 20 percent of the YES Network, they are hoping to partner with Amazon and Sinclair Broadcasting to purchase the remaining 80 percent from the Walt Disney Company.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Walt Disney Company is reviewing bids for the 22 Regional Sports Networks that it tentatively acquired in the $71.3 billion purchase of most of Fox. For the mega-deal to gain approval from the U.S. Department of Justice, RSNs such as the highly successful YES Network, need to be sold (Disney already owns ESPN) — and it just so happens that the Yankees are in the market to buy the remaining 80 percent of their TV namesake.
However, Disney currently values the Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network, which also carries Brooklyn Nets telecasts, between $5 and $6 billion. Yes, that’s billion with a ‘B.’
Therefore, the Yanks are looking to partner with a number of entities, most notably Amazon and Sinclair Broadcasting, in order to come up with the necessary scratch.
Talks are still in their infancy, so it’s believed the Yankees have also contacted cable operator Altice USA, about a working partnership of sorts.
Considering the popularity and monetary value of the YES Network — and the fact that all 22 of Fox’s former RSNs equal $20 billion, it’s easy to see why a trillion-dollar company like Amazon is interested in further extending its footprint into professional sports.
The e-commerce titan already streams Thursday Night NFL games and the U.S. Open tennis tournament as part of its Amazon Prime membership service.
According to Deadline, the Yankees have been paired with Sinclair Broadcasting by the public relations firm, Blackstone, due to their mutual aspirations.
The Yankees have long worked with private equity firms on the financial strategy for YES, which launched in 2002 and ushered in an era of sports teams seeking more control of their own TV rights. Major P.E. firm Blackstone is also working with Sinclair on a bid for the larger portfolio, and executives at the leading local TV station owner have repeatedly indicated their keen interest in the RSNs.