The fate of the Fox regional sports networks (RSN's) could have a big impact on cable TV operators nationwide.
One thing we do know: in order to smooth regulatory approval of its purchase of Fox, Disney has agreed to sell the 22 RSN's, home to 44 professional teams as well as countless college athletic contests. According to a report at Bloomberg, possible new owners could include both traditional broadcasting conglomerates such as Sinclair Broadcast Group (likely feeling a bit miffed by Tribune's recent rejection of their merger), a "new media" company such as YouTube (owned by Google) or Amazon, or a buyout firm of investors. Or, you could see some combination of new owners, including the potential for some professional teams to buy back their own RSN and run it themselves. This last option is apparently being explored by the Chicago Cubs when their agreement with NBC Sports Chicago expires.
A final unknown: the impact of carriage availability and costs for cable operators.
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June 16, 2021
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