Amazon Aug. 29 quietly teamed up with Sinclair Broadcast Co., private equity groups and The New York Yankees to acquire the latter’s flagship Yankees Entertainment and Sports (YES) Network for $3.47 billion from The Walt Disney Co.
The Yankees previously owned 20% of the regional sports TV network, which broadcasts the Yankees (MLB), Brooklyn Nets (NBA), New York City FC (MLS) and the New York Liberty (WNBA).
Disney acquired majority ownership of YES with its $71 billion acquisition of 20th Century Fox. Since the acquisition, Disney has sought to sell-off Fox’s RSNs to pay down debt and focus on film and over-the-top video.
The Yankees will own 26% of the new joint venture, followed by Sinclair (20%) and Amazon (15%), with private equity groups controlling the other 39%.
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For Amazon, the deal furthers the ecommerce behemoth’s interest in live sports, which currently includes Thursday Night Football broadcasts, select MLB games and Premier League soccer in the U.K., among others.
In a press conference, Yankees president Randy Levine said the combination of Amazon and Sinclair provided a “dream team” of investors.
“We believe we’re going to take it to the next level,” Levine told Bloomberg.