Fox is acquiring two San Francisco TV stations in a station-swap agreement with Cox Media Group.
Deal calls for Cox to take over Fox O&Os in Boston and Memphis in exchange for Cox’s KTVU-TV and KICU-TV San Francisco. KTVU is a longtime Fox affil, while KICU is an indie.
The horse trading gives Fox a presence in a larger top 10 TV market, as San Francisco ranks as the nation’s sixth-largest market while Boston ranks as No. 7.
As important to Fox is the fact that San Francisco is home to the NFL’s 49ers, which are part of the NFC conference — the gridiron rights package that Fox carries. In contrast, Boston’s New England Patriots are part of the AFC conference that airs on CBS.
“The addition of KTVU and KICU to our portfolio of owned-and-operated stations provides us with a compelling growth opportunity in a top-10 market,” said Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations. “Our stations group will benefit from both the strong demographics of the Bay area market as well as the alignment with our package of sports rights.”
WFXT-TV Boston and WHBQ-TV Memphis will remain Fox affils as part of the deal. Boston will be come Cox’s largest TV market after it exits San Francisco, followed by Atlanta and Houston.