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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Sinclair Broadcasting is the front-runner to buy a package of regional sports networks being sold by Walt Disney Co., following a bid of around $10 billion, per Fox Business Network. A deal could be announced as early as this week.

Why it matters: This would represent a major reversal of fortunes for Sinclair, which last year was blocked from buying Tribune Media after allegedly lying to the FCC and acting in bad faith with Tribune's board.

The backdrop: Disney, which owns ESPN, agreed to sell the RSNs in order to get regulatory approval for its $52 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox's entertainment assets. Other bidders include Major League Baseball (now working with Liberty Media), the BIG3 basketball league and Amazon (which reportedly only wants one RSN, the New York Yankees-centric YES).

The bottom line: "Disney initially sought as much as $20 billion for the entire package... [But] most of the interest came from parties looking to snap up the RSNs at a low-ball price. Industry trends show declining cable profitability due to cord cutting and sports leagues maintaining ownership (rather than the networks), of the all-important digital rights for games to be viewed on wireless devices," write Fox Business' Lydia Moynihan and Charlie Gasparino.

Go deeper: Amazon reportedly bids for Disney's regional sports networks

Go deeper

The modern way to hire a big-city police chief

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

When it comes to picking a city's top cop, closed-door selection processes have been replaced by highly public exercises where everyone gets to vet the candidates — who must have better community-relations skills than ever.

Why it matters: In the post-George-Floyd era, with policing under utmost scrutiny, the choosing of a police chief has become something akin to an election, with the need to build consensus around a candidate. And the candidate pool has gotten smaller.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
57 mins ago - Economy & Business

Speculative crypto art market takes off

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Move over, GameStop. The newest speculative game in town is NFTs — digital files that can be owned and traded on a plethora of new online platforms.

Why it matters: Most NFTs include some kind of still or moving image, which makes them similar to many physical art objects. Some of them, including a gif of Nyan Cat flying through the sky with a pop-tart body and rainbow trail, can be worth more than your house.

New coronavirus cases fall by 20%

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New coronavirus infections continued their sharp decline over the past week, and are now back down to pre-Thanksgiving levels.

The big picture: Given the U.S.’ experience over the past year, it can be hard to trust anything that looks like good news, without fearing that another shoe is about to drop. But the U.S. really is doing something right lately. Cases are way down, vaccinations are way up, and that’s going to save a lot of lives.