Disney has divested the first of the nearly two dozen regional sports networks it acquired in the purchase of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets last year. It will sell controlling interest in the YES Network back to the New York Yankees.
YES received a $3.4 billion valuation last year as Disney began looking to sell the RSNs. It had owned 80% of the cable outlet with the Yankees owning the remaining 20%.
In addition to the New York Yankees, YES also has the play-by-play rights to the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA and MLS’s NYCFC.
The Yankees have also struck partnerships with Sinclair Broadcasting, Amazon, and Blackstone Group. Each of the three will receive a share of the YES Network. Sinclair will be able to air Yankee games on their stations in markets where YES is unavailable. Amazon will have the streaming rights for Yankee games.
Disney still has 21 other RSNs to sell. Major League Baseball and Liberty Media are said to be the front-runners for those properties, although Fox Business has reported that a group led by Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno has expressed interest in purchasing only the West Coast networks. The sale of all 21 properties is expected to close by the end of the month.