Sinclair wants to keep building sports empire after closing Disney RSN deal – report

Wrigley Field in Chicago
Sinclair is also partnering with the Chicago Cubs to create a new RSN that will be the exclusive home for Cubs games starting in the 2020 season. (Rdikeman/CC BY-SA 3.0)

Sinclair just closed its $9.6 billion deal with Disney for 21 regional sports networks, and the television broadcast group may already be looking to add to its collection.

Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley told the Wall Street Journal that his company is interested in buying more RSNs, and is looking at the four networks owned by AT&T. AT&T, which is in the process of paying down debt accrued during big acquisitions like the Time Warner deal, is reportedly interested in selling off those networks.

AT&T owns AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain and AT&T SportsNet Southwest, and has a 40% stake in Root Sports Northwest. According to Bloomberg, the networks could be sold for nearly $1 billion.

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Sinclair’s confirmed interest in those networks comes on the same day that the company closed its acquisition of the Fox RSNs from Disney. The company acquired Fox Sports Arizona, Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Florida, Fox Sports Sun, Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Ohio, SportsTime Ohio, Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Carolina, Fox Sports Tennessee, Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports Southwest, Fox Sports Oklahoma, Fox Sports New Orleans, Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Kansas City, Fox Sports Indiana, Fox Sports San Diego, Fox Sports West, and Prime Ticket.

The RSNs were acquired via a newly formed, indirect subsidiary of Sinclair, Diamond Sports Group. Entertainment Studios CEO Byron Allen has agreed to become an equity and content partner in a newly formed indirect subsidiary of Sinclair and an indirect parent of Diamond.

Sinclair also recently partnered with the New York Yankees and other companies, including Amazon, to buy the YES Network for $3.47 billion. The company is also partnering with the Chicago Cubs to create a new RSN that will be the exclusive home for Cubs games starting in the 2020 season.

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