It’s apparent that the first round of bidding for the Fox Sports RSNs didn’t go as Disney planned, because there’s word that the Mouse plans to break them up in a series of sales rather than go all-in-one. The New York Post reports that Disney didn’t get the overall value it was looking for, and instead of media and tech giants fighting for the FSNs, a number of private equity firms got involved.
While some media companies like Sinclair Broadcasting and Nexstar Media Group were part of the bidding as either primary bidders or secondary partners, neither were considered serious. Sinclair’s was seen as “a lowball bid” and Nexstar is about to make a bid for the Tribune stations.
Major League Baseball is also looking to potentially buy some or all of the FSNs, that is mostly talk right now.
Amazon is reportedly talking with the New York Yankees about buying YES, but the Post reports that it’s not interested in buying the other Fox RSNs. This comes after reports that Amazon was bidding for the networks.
Even LL Cool J and Ice Cube teamed up to attempt to buy the RSNs, but that bid was not taken seriously.
The Post reports that there are a number of factors that are preventing an all-in-one sale, including the increasing number of cord cutters and the fact that the Fox Sports Networks “do not own the digital rights” to any of their MLB, MLS, NBA, and NHL teams.
However, a couple of interesting developments involving two of the RSNs have arisen. Charter, which runs a series of Spectrum SportsNets (including the consistently flawed Dodgers RSN, SportsNet LA), has bid for Fox Sports South (home of the Atlanta Braves and Hawks) and Jim Polhad, owner of the Twins, is supposedly interested in FS North (which airs the Twins, Timberwolves, and Wild), but hasn’t confirmed it.
Disney was hoping to rope in over $20 billion from the Fox Sports Networks, but with heavy hitters like Comcast and Fox itself sitting out the first round of the bidding, there’s no doubt that the Mouse is now scrambling looking for creative ways to sell the networks.
There is still a chance that Comcast or Fox will get into the bidding for the second round, but for now, Disney is facing a federal deadline to sell the RSNs as its deal to buy Fox’s entertainment assets is closing soon. It has to sell the Fox Sports Nets within 90 days of its Fox purchase.
So the saga of the Fox Sports RSN sale continues, and where (and when) this ends is anyone’s best guess.