Amazon and Sinclair are among the companies chipping into to buy the Disney-owned YES Network, the TV home for the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Nets, New York City FC, and New York Liberty.
Those companies, along with Yankee Global Enterprises and additional funding from RedBird Capital, Blackstone’s Tactical Opportunities business and Mubadala Capital, are acquiring 80% of YES in a deal that implies a total enterprise value of $3.47 billion.
Yankee Global Enterprises will continue developing, producing and marketing sports content for the network. Sinclair, which already owns 22 regional sports networks and the Tennis Channel, will work with the YES team management to manage traditional and vMVPD distribution relationships.
A news release announcing the deal includes quotes from the Yankees organization, Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley and executives representing the deal’s different investors. But, Amazon did not comment.
It’s unclear from the release just what Amazon’s ownership stake and role will be at YES. The companies said that the Yankees, Sinclair and Amazon “will work together to enhance the network and position it strategically to continue its leadership in sports broadcasting across all forms of distribution.”
Reports from earlier this year, when Amazon was still just circling the YES Network, suggest that the tech giant’s involvement in a deal for the network could give it the right to stream games in its local territories and could mark a significant step toward separating out regional sports networks from pay TV channel bundles.