Aug 29, 2019

Disney sells YES Network to Yankees, Sinclair, Amazon

Photo: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Walt Disney Company says it's sold its 80% stake in the YES (Yankee Entertainment and Sports) Network for a deal valued at $3.47 billion.

Why it matters: The YES Network is considered one of the most valuable and most-watched regional sports networks. Its sale will boost Sinclair's growing foothold in regional sports and will give Amazon an entryway into local sports broadcast.

Details: Disney's stake is being sold to an investment groups that includes Amazon, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Yankee Global Enterprises, the parent company of the New York Yankees.

  • Sinclair says it has acquired 20% of the network via its subsidiary Diamond Sports Group for about $346 million.
  • Yankee Global Enterprises will be the majority owner with a 26% stake in the company. Amazon will receive roughly a 15% stake in the company, per Deadline.
  • Other investors include RedBird Capital, funds managed by Blackstone’s Tactical Opportunities business, and Mubadala Capital, according to a press release.

Between the lines: Disney agreed to sell off all 22 Fox regional sports networks as part of its approval from the Justice Department to OK its 21st Century Fox deal. YES Network is part of that divestiture.

  • Sinclair just last week closed a $9.6 acquisition of Disney's 21 other regional sports networks. In a statement, Sinclair President and CEO Chris Ripley said that with this investment, "we will have 23 RSN brands, including Marquee with the iconic Chicago Cubs."

The big picture: The value of RSNs has been difficult to measure over the past few years. RSNs have been able to command strong licensing fees due to their exclusive sports rights, but have seen viewership declines due to more people ditching traditional television packages for digital alternatives.

Go deeper... Report: Sinclair clinches deal for Disney's regional sports networks

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In photos: Authorities issue warning as Americans venture out for Memorial Day weekend

Venice Beach in Los Angeles on May 24. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Authorities urged Americans to maintain social distancing and wear masks against the coronavirus amid reports of packed beaches and bars during the Memorial Day weekend.

Driving the news: Law enforcement stepped up beach patrols, authorities on Florida's Gulf Coast closed parking lots because they were full and there were crowded scenes at Lake of the Ozarks bars in Missouri, per AP, which reports a shooting injured several people at a packed Daytona Beach in Florida.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 5,405,029 — Total deaths: 344,997 — Total recoveries — 2,168,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,642,021 — Total deaths: 97,698 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans sue California over mail-out ballot plan

California Gov. Gavin Newsom during a February news conference in Sacramento, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Trump accused Democrats of trying "Rig" November's general election as Republican groups filed a lawsuit against California Sunday in an attempt to stop Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) from mailing ballots to all registered voters.

Driving the news: Newsom signed an executive order this month in response to the coronavirus pandemic ensuring that all registered voters in the state receive a mail-in ballot.