Looking to boost its local TV-media marketplace presence, Sinclair Broadcast Group has agreed to buy all 21 regional sports networks from Walt Disney for $10.6 billion.
The deal includes local TV rights to 42 professional teams -- 14 Major League Baseball teams, 16 National Basketball Association (NBA) teams and 12 National Hockey League (NHL) teams. The deal also includes Fox College Sports.
In 2018, these regional sports networks pulled in $3.8 billion in revenue, per Sinclair. The networks total 74 million subscribers. The deal doesn’t include the New York-area YES Network.
A new Sinclair subsidiary, the Diamond Sports Group, will be home to the regional sports networks.
As part of this deal, Byron Allen, founder, chairman/CEO of Entertainment Studios, who bought The Weather Channel in 2018, will become an equity and content partner of Diamond.
Sinclair did not provide specifics, although it said the actual purchase price of the entire deal is “$9.6 billion, after adjusting for minority equity interests.”
Sinclair's other sports businesses include the Marquee Sports Network, a recently announced joint venture with the Chicago Cubs, the Tennis Channel and Tennis Media Company, Stadium, a college sports/professional sports highlights venture, Ring of Honor Wrestling (professional wrestling) and high-school sports shows “Friday Night Rivals” and “Thursday Night Lights.”
Walt Disney took ownership of the regional sports networks after buying half of the 21st Century Fox business for $71.3 billion. Sinclair owns 191 TV stations, totaling 607 channels, in 89 markets.