Comcast Corp. has struck a deal with Cablevision’s Rainbow Media Holdings programming subsidiary to buy out Cablevision’s interests in two regional sports cablers, FSN New England and FSN Bay Area, for $570 million in cash.
Deal promises to strengthen Philadelphia-based Comcast’s grip on East Coast regional sports TV outlets outside of Cablevision’s Gotham stronghold. The stakes in FSN New England and FSN Bay Area were Rainbow’s last sports cabler assets located outside of the lucrative New York market.
Comcast will buy up Rainbow’s 50% interest in FSN New England, giving it sole ownership of the channel that is the cable home of the NBA’s Boston Celtics, among other regional franchises. Comcast will grab Rainbow’s 60% interest in FSN Bay Area and will have operating control, with News Corp. continuing to own 40% of the channel that carries baseball’s San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics and NBA’s Golden State Warriors, among other teams.
“FSN Bay Area and New England are excellent operating businesses and fit strategically into Comcast’s portfolio of sports networks,” said Comcast Programming Group chief Jeff Shell in announcing the acquisition.