Disney, which also owns ESPN and its family of sports networks, agreed to sell FOX's 22 regional sports networks in order to obtain approval for its massive acquisition of a collection of 21st Century FOX assets. Reuters reported in April that Amazon had agreed to pay the National Football League $65 million a year for streaming rights to Thursday night games.
While linear cable networks are challenged in general, the RSNs are considered beachfront property in media given the ongoing demand for live sports.
Inc and private equity firm Blackstone Group are bidding for Walt Disney Co's 22 regional sports networks, including New York-focused Yes Network, CNBC reported on Tuesday, citing https://cnb.cx/2BlKU1H sources familiar with the matter.
The New York Yankees have the right to make their own buyback offer for the YES Network, which many analysts expect them to exercise, raising the possibility that the networks could be sold off piecemeal.
The Fox RSNs include the YES Network, TV home of the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Nets, which is drawing interest as a standalone purchase.
A second round of bids is expected before the end of the year, and due diligence evaluations on the bids will begin next week, CNBC reported.
Disney did not immediately return a request for comment.
Per the outlet, the sports networks could be worth roughly $20 billion, though CNCB's report did not include the financial terms of Amazon's bid. In all, the YES Network broadcasts games from 44 different professional teams in MLB, NBA, and National Hockey League.
According to a report by Bloomberg last week, the Yankees are in talks to buy back YES Network.
Reuters added that sports leagues were anticipating big tech companies will bid aggressively when rights come up for renewal in the next few years.