Sinclair Buys FSO, Other Fox Sports Regional Networks

Aug 26, 2019

And this one belongs to Sinclair!

Sinclair Broadcast Group – which owns 193 TV stations including WKRC-TV, WSTR-TV, WKEF-TV and WRGT-TV in Southwestern Ohio – has bought Fox Sports Ohio and 20 other Fox regional sports networks.

The deal with Disney - announced in May, and closed last Friday - gives Sinclair "the largest collection of regional sports networks," Variety says.

Disney, which owns ESPN, was required to sell the Fox sports regionals when it purchased 21st Century Fox's TV and film assets.

Sinclair paid $9.6 billion for Fox College Sports and the 21 regionals, which includes exclusive local rights to 42 professional teams consisting of 14 Major League Baseball teams, 16 National Basketball Association teams and 12 National Hockey League teams, Variety says. Fox Sports Ohio televises the Reds, Indians, Cavaliers and Blue Jackets.

In addition to FSO, Sinclair obtains SportsTime Ohio, Prime Ticket, and networks branded as Fox Sports Indiana, Midwest, North, South, West, Southwest, Southeast, Florida, Sun, Arizona, Carolina, Detroit, Kansas City, New Orleans, Oklahoma, San Diego, Tennessee and Wisconsin. It does not include the New York Yankees' YES Network.

The sports networks "will substantially boost Sinclair's business," the Los Angeles Times says.

Sinclair, which also owns the Tennis Channel and part of the Stadium sports network, "has already signaled its interest" in acquiring more regional sports networks, particularly the four that AT&T is expected to sell, says the New York Post.

AT&T could sell its AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh; AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain (Utah, Nevada and Colorado); AT&T SportsNet Southwest (parts of Texas and Louisiana); and Root Sports Northwest (Alaska, Washington and Oregon). The four channels hold rights to more than two dozen pro teams, college programs and NCAA conferences, Bloomberg says.

The 21 Fox regionals were purchased by a subsidiary of Sinclair called the Diamond Sports Group, which includes Los Angeles media mogul Byron Allen as an equity and content partner, the Times says. Allen purchased the Weather Channel last year, the Times says.

"We are very excited about the transformational aspects the RSN acquisition will have on Sinclair and are eager to bring those opportunities to life," said Chris Ripley, Sinclair president and chief executive office, said in a statement. "We welcome Jeff Krolik, president of the RSNs, and the rest of the RSN management team and staff to the Sinclair family."