News Corp. may acquire more stake in the network after three years
News Corporation announced on Tuesday that it acquired a 49 percent equity stake in the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network.
The YES Network, which airs local coverage of the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Nets, also announced that it bought the media rights to keep the baseball team on its airwaves through 2042.
The agreement now awaits approval from Major League Baseball. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.
YES's current owners — namely Yankee Global Enterprises and Goldman Sachs — will reduce their ownership. In three years, News Corp. may acquire more stake in the network, bringing its ownership up to 80 percent. The Yankees will maintain a minority stake.
Founded in 2002, YES has spread from New York to Connecticut, New Jersey and parts of Pennsylvania, and is offered nationally on some cable and satellite distributors.
"We've long been a believer in the unique appeal of sports entertainment," James Murdoch, the deputy chief operating officer of News Corp., said in a statement. "Partnering upstream with rights holders is even more important today in the dynamic media marketplace in which we compete. This is a tremendous opportunity to enhance News Corporation's industry-leading portfolio of sports properties."
Fox Sports Media Group, which will now include YES, owns 20 regional sports networks and broadcasts more than half of all MLB, National Hockey League and National Basketball Association teams.