Josh Kosman and Richard Morgan of The Post reported Friday that the YES Network, currently owned by FOX Sports, will return to its original owners, the Yankees ... with the help of Amazon in what may become a trend among flagging regional sports networks.
Later Friday, Darren Rovell reported a deal is in place...
Yankees have deal in place to buy the YES Network from Disney for $3.47 Billion, which is an 8.4X EBITDA multiple.— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) March 8, 2019
Yankees will have undisclosed majority share as lead investor. Other investors include Amazon, Blackstone, Michael Dell & Jerry Cardinale's Red Bird Capital. pic.twitter.com/UIceUPbKkW
The Yankees sold YES (Yankees Entertainment and Sports) Network to FOX five years ago, but under an agreement in the deal, the Yankees maintained the right of first refusal if the network went up for sale. Disney, which bought out Twentieth Century FOX, must sell YES and 21 other regional sports networks as part of their agreement with federal regulators.
The $3.47 billion would be for the 80 percent of the network the Yankees don’t currently control. In addition to Amazon, a number of other investors, including Michael Dell of Dell Computers, will join the bid.
The deal, suggests Kosman and Morgan, will put “the online retailer in a position to control video streaming of Yankees games and Brooklyn Nets basketball games.”
With regional TV sports networks losing customers, streaming rights are becoming more valuable. And Amazon with its e-commerce and streaming presence — including Amazon Prime — is expected to make a bigger move into sports rights (and will likely compete on a large scale with the major TV networks.)
As the New York Times reports...
Amazon already streams “Thursday Night Football” on Prime, for which it had paid $50 million for one N.F.L. season. The company renewed that agreement in April for two more years in a deal worth $130 million, a 30 percent increase.
Kosman and Morgan did not provide details on how fans will pay for the streaming service. Amazon currently offers video streaming subscriptions on Amazon Prime (which costs $119 a year). YES currently owns broadcast rights and digital rights to the Nets through the middle of next decade.
- Amazon-led group closing in on $3.5B deal for YES Network - Josh Kosman & Richard Morgan
- Amazon Investment in Yankees Network Could Threaten Sports TV Bundling - Kamaron Leach - Bloomberg News