WASHINGTON (SBG) -- A group of regional sports networks across the United States has been acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group.
The 21 networks, which broadcast various NBA, NHL and MLB games exclusively to their local markets, are based in areas such as Los Angeles, Detroit, New Orleans, Atlanta and other cities.
As part of the now closed deal Disney made to buy 21st Century Fox, the Department of Justice required the company to sell the RSN's which formerly belonged to Fox. Disney's agreement with the DOJ opened the door for Sinclair to buy the group of networks for $9.6 billion.
The RSN's will join a stable of other sports properties either owned or co-owned by Sinclair such as Tennis Channel and Tennis Media Company, Stadium, Ring of Honor wrestling, high school sports programming across Sinclair stations and the recently announced Marquee Sports Network which will be the exclusive home of the Chicago Cubs starting in 2020.
“This is a very exciting transaction for Sinclair to be able to acquire highly complementary assets,” Chris Ripley, President and CEO of Sinclair said in a press release on Friday. “While consumer viewing habits have shifted, the tradition of watching live sports and news remains ingrained in our culture. As one of the largest local news producers in the country and an experienced producer of sports content, we are ideally positioned to transfer our skills to deliver and expand our focus on greater premium sports programming.”
This transaction does not include YES Network, an RSN that was also being sold by Disney and broadcasts New York Yankees games.
With this new acquisition, Sinclair will be the new home for the broadcasts of 42 professional teams consisting of 14 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, 16 National Basketball Association (NBA) teams, and 12 National Hockey League (NHL) teams.
Byron Allen, a comedian and entrepreneur, is an equity owner of the RSNs through a newly formed company known as Diamond Sports Group. In addition, Allen will provide programming for the regional sports networks. Allen currently owns The Weather Channel and Entertainment Studios.
Here is a list of the RSN's Sinclair has acquired: