Walt Disney has sold the remaining piece of its acquired 22 regional sports networks from its Fox acquisition — the big YES Network (Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network) — for $3.5 billion to a group of investors. They include Sinclair Broadcast Group and Amazon.
The deal is for 80% of the company not owned by the New York Yankees.
Yankee Global Enterprises, which owns The New York Yankees, will now own 26% of YES. Sinclair will own 20%, and Amazon will own 15%. The remaining 39% split is between Redbird Capital, Blackstone and Mubadala Capital.
The YES Network has been the highest-rated regional sports network (RSN) in 14 of the past 16 seasons, according to Forbes.
Recently, Sinclair completed its $10.6 billion deal to acquire the 21 other Fox regional sports networks. In total, those RSNs generated $3.8 billion in revenue, with 74 million subscribers in 2018, according to a report.
Disney had agreed to sell the networks as part of an agreement with the Department of Justice to complete its $71.3 billion Fox deal.
RSN networks earned some of the highest carriage fees from pay TV providers. For example, YES Network charges a monthly fee of $6.74, according to S&P’s SNL Kagan.
The deal pushes Amazon more into sports programming, which now has the streaming rights to the NFL's 11 “Thursday Night Football” games and 20 U.K. Premier League soccer games.