The deal was announced in May after Disney bought the networks as part of its acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox. The portfolio, which excludes the YES Network, is described as the largest collection of RSNs in the marketplace and includes exclusive local rights to 42 professional teams consisting of 14 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, 16 National Basketball Association (NBA) teams, and 12 National Hockey League (NHL) teams.
Disney was required to divest the 21 regional sports networks as part of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s film and TV assets in order to obtain clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Chris Ripley, president & CEO of Sinclair, said, “We are very excited about the transformational aspects the RSN acquisition will have on Sinclair and are eager to bring those opportunities to life. We welcome Jeff Krolik, President of the RSNs, and the rest of the RSN management team and staff to the Sinclair family. We have an exciting future ahead of us.”
The RSNs were acquired via Sinclair’s Diamond Sports Group, in which Entertainment Studios chief Byron Allen has invested. The deal comes a year after Allen bought The Weather Channel. The deal was funded through a $1.4 billion cash contribution from Sinclair, $1 billion of preferred equity, a $3.3 billion secured term B loan facility, $3.1 billion of secured notes and $1.8 billion of senior notes.
The RSN brands acquired by Sinclair are: Fox Sports Arizona, Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Florida, Fox Sports Sun, Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Ohio, SportsTime Ohio, Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Carolina, Fox Sports Tennessee, Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports Southwest, Fox Sports Oklahoma, Fox Sports New Orleans, Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Kansas City, Fox Sports Indiana, Fox Sports San Diego, Fox Sports West, and Prime Ticket.