Amazon backs Yankees in deal to buy back YES Network

By Bloomberg | 08 Mar 2019 at 10:50hrs
YES
The New York Yankees are close to a deal to buy back the YES Network for almost $3.5 billion, with backing from Amazon.com Inc., Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. and Redbird Capital Partners, according to people familiar with the deal.

The network, which broadcasts Yankees games and the NBA's Brooklyn Nets, is the prize jewel of the sports-network collection that Walt Disney Co. is selling after its agreement to acquire 21st Century Fox Inc. in a $71 billion takeover.

The YES deal with Amazon, which already streams the NFL's Thursday Night Football, would give the Yankees a strategic partner that could offer their games direct to consumers. Sports leagues and networks are racing to offer so-called over-the-top distribution that allows viewers to watch games on TV or mobile devices via the internet.

Disney had to sell the networks to win approval for the deal because adding Fox's 22 regional sports channels to ESPN, its sports channel, would have given it too much power in the industry.

Initial analyst estimates valued the networks at $20 billion to $22 billion, though more recent projections put the total at closer to $10 billion - especially without the YES Network.

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