Believe it or not, SNY wasn’t part of Steve Cohen’s purchase of the New York Mets last year. This has led to a somewhat hilarious situation, with the Wilpon brothers, the team’s reviled former owners, still supporting the Mets through rights fees from SNY, and Mets fans still supporting the Wilpons by paying carriage fees to their cable and satellite providers for SNY.
But that weird arrangement will come to an end sooner rather than later if the Wilpons get their way. Per Sportico, the Wilpon family is looking into selling their majority stake in SNY (a 65% interest). Cohen, naturally, is a potential suitor for SNY.
The Wilpon family, which sold the team last year to Steve Cohen for about $2.42 billion, are considering multiple options for its majority stake in the network, said the people, who were granted anonymity because the talks are private. A deal is not certain, and the group could eventually elect to retain some or all of SNY, the people said.
Cohen is among those interested, the people said. He is coordinating with RedBird Capital, the investment fund run by former Goldman Sachs partner Gerry Cardinale, which is already an investor in YES Network (the Yankees RSN) and which recently acquired a stake in NESN (the Red Sox RSN) as part of a wider investment in Fenway Sports Group.
The Mets are getting a reported $52 million per season from SNY. This is estimated to be in the bottom half of the league, per Fangraphs’ calculations last spring. Since that article, the Brewers and Marlins have both gotten new TV deals from Sinclair. The team’s deal with SNY runs through the 2030 season, and its value is even more damaged by the Wilpons’ sale of the team (but not the RSN) to Cohen.
As for potential buyers….Cohen (in partnership with RedBird Capital, which recently bought a chunk of Fenway Sports Group and is a minority investor in YES Network) is an obvious possibility. Sinclair also makes sense, since it only has a minority stake in YES and doesn’t run a Bally Sports RSN in the northeast. Comcast is also a possibility, since it already has a minority stake in SNY and streams Mets content locally on the NBC Sports app. Charter falls into a similar boat, since it’s also a minority investor (holding a larger stake than Comcast) and runs a pair of RSNs in Los Angeles through its partnerships with the Lakers and Dodgers.
I have no inside information here, but a combination of owners is probably the most likely outcome here, similar to what we saw with YES when the Yankees regained control a couple of years ago. The team has the controlling stake in the network, with Sinclair, Amazon, and private equity also owning chunks. It would make plenty of sense for Cohen to purchase a controlling share of SNY, with Charter and Comcast still involved, and maybe a private equity company or two also getting thrown into the mix.