Sinclair Closes Acquisition of Fox Regional Sports Networks From Disney

Byron Allen to become equity partner in new Diamond Sports Group, which will house the RSNs

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Sinclair Broadcast Group has closed its deal to buy the 21 Fox regional sports networks (RSNs) from Disney.

The deal, first agreed to in May, is for a total value of $10.6 billion.

“We are very excited about the transformational aspects the RSN acquisition will have on Sinclair and are eager to bring those opportunities to life,” said Chris Ripley, president and CEO of Sinclair. “We welcome Jeff Krolik, President of the RSNs, and the rest of the RSN management team and staff to the Sinclair family. We have an exciting future ahead of us.”

The 21 regional sports networks collectively hold local TV rights for 42 professional sports teams across the NHL, NBA and Major League Baseball, in markets including Detroit, Southern California, Dallas, Cleveland and Miami. Major League Baseball, TEGNA and a slew of private equity firms were among the other bidders.

As part of the transaction, Sinclair also acquires Fox College Sports and will place all of its RSNs into a new subsidiary called Diamond Sports Group, with Entertainment Studios’ Byron Allen on board as an equity and content partner.

Disney was required to offload the 22 regional sports networks it gained as part of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s film and TV assets to gain clearance from the Department of Justice.

In March, Disney sold the New York-based YES Network back to the New York Yankees, with Amazon as a minority partner, for $3.47 billion. Sinclair had separately partnered with Yankee Global Enterprises (the company that owns the Yankees) and Amazon on this deal, which gave Amazon the rights to stream Yankees games within the team’s regional territory that encompasses New York, parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. The NBA’s Brooklyn Nets games are also carried by YES Network.

The purchase makes Sinclair, already the largest owner of local TV stations (170) in the country, an even bigger player in the local TV game. Sinclair also owns the Tennis Channel and launching a regional sports network with the MLB’s Chicago Cubs.

Sinclair had been set to buy Tribune’s local TV stations but that deal was scuttled last summer.