The Hustle

Sinclair shows Disney the money with giant sports network purchase

TV broadcasting giant Sinclair will buy 21 of Disney’s regional sports networks in a $10B deal.


May 6, 2019

TV broadcasting giant, Sinclair Broadcast Group, will buy 21 regional sports networks from Disney in a $10.6B deal, WSJ reports

Disney was forced to sell off the regional networks as part of its $71B acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets, after the Justice Department cited anti-competitive concerns with the ESPN owner.

The final price tag was considerably lower than analysts’ predictions (upwards of $25B). Only 2 other companies reportedly made bids — likely due in part to rising cable prices driving more viewers to opt for streaming sources over cable.

But Sinclair apparently isn’t sweating the cord-cutting

Already the nation’s biggest owner of local stations, Sinclair has been steadily beefing up its catalog (and its opportunities to offer bundling) with a mix of networks and streaming services. 

That portfolio includes Tennis Channel, 24/7 Stadium, and a new regional Chicago network. Sinclair is also acquiring the YES Network in partnership with the New York Yankees and Amazon for $3.45B.  

This recent Disney victory is a salve to the burn Sinclair suffered last year, when its attempted purchase of Tribune Media blew up.

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