Amazon Has Put in a Bid for Disney’s 22 Regional Sports Networks, Report Says
Amazon has submitted a bid for Disney’s 22 regional sports television networks in an apparent move to expand its live video options, according to a new report.
The e-commerce giant is among several companies to bid for the channels that were previously owned by 21st Century Fox, according to CNBC. Apollo Global Management, KKR, The Blackstone Group, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tegna are also said to have submitted first-round bids.
Missing among the bidders is “New Fox,” the spin-off company that emerged following Disney’s $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets earlier this year. Included among those assets were the regional sports networks, which Disney initially hoped to partner with its recently launched ESPN+ streaming service. But the Justice Department ruled Disney must sell the networks to complete the Fox deal, citing antitrust concerns, and New Fox emerged as a front-runner to buy the channels back, according to CNBC.
The report adds that Fox may make an offer in the next round of bidding, which is expected to be completed before the year ends.
All eyes will be on Amazon, however. The addition of 22 local sports channels, including the New York Yankees’ YES Network, would be a major boost to its Prime Video service—and would dramatically shake up the television industry. Amazon has already shown an interest in bringing live sports to its streaming platform with deals to broadcast the NFL’s Thursday Night Football and 20 of U.K.’s Premier League soccer matches starting in 2019.