Well, here we go. On Tuesday morning, CNBC reported that Amazon was one of the bidders for all 22 of the Fox RSNs, including the YES Network.
The e-commerce giant’s bid includes the New York-based YES Network, sources familiar with the matter told CNBC. It is bidding for the New York network along with an unknown sovereign wealth fund and the Yankees, the sources said. YES may be sold separately from the other networks.
It was previously reported that the Yankees intended to buy YES back from Disney, who acquired the RSN (and the rest of the networks across the country) as part of its purchase of 21st Century Fox assets earlier this year. Along with the Yankees, an “unknown sovereign wealth fund” is in the market for YES.
Other confirmed bidders include Apollo Global Management (the private equity firm that wants to partner with LeBron James’ Uninterrupted), Sinclair Broadcast Group (who owns a shitload of local networks across the country, for better or worse results), the Blackstone Group (which does not appear to have any interests in the sports or broadcasting world, but I could be wrong on that), Tegna (which also owns a bunch of local stations, and split off from Gannett a few years back), and KKR & Co (another private equity firm with minimal interests in the sports world).
Another round of bids will be due before the end of the year, and due diligence has started on the submitted bids. Fox didn’t make a bid in the first round of bidding for the RSNs (that the sold to Disney in the first place), but they may make a bid in the second round, which they’ve reportedly been discussing in recent months following the sale.
In my opinion, Fox represents the safest, and probably best, option for viewers, while Amazon represents the most exciting, interesting option. An Amazon purchase of the Fox RSNs could open the door for Amazon Prime subscribers to add their local RSNs to their Prime package (like they can with networks like HBO, Starz, and Showtime) for a fee, and could allow viewers to watch local games without a cable subscription.
The plot continues to thicken regarding the Fox RSNs. But if Amazon is able to add them to their portfolio, they’ll gain a huge leg up on their competitors in the streaming market.