News Corporation (NASDAQ: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) and Yankee Global Enterprises today announced an agreement that calls for News Corporation to acquire a 49 percent equity stake in the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (YES). The YES Network delivers exclusive live local television coverage of New York Yankees baseball and Brooklyn Nets basketball, as well as other leading local and national sports-related programming. The YES Network also announced a media rights agreement that will keep Yankees baseball on the YES Network through 2042.
The media rights agreement is subject to Major League Baseball approval. The investment is expected to close by the end of the calendar year.
The current owners: Yankee Global Enterprises, Goldman Sachs and other investors will reduce their ownership in connection with this transaction. After three years, News Corporation may acquire an additional stake in the YES Network that could bring its ownership to 80 percent, at which time Yankee Global Enterprises would retain a significant minority stake in the network.
Since its inception in 2002, YES has grown its footprint to include local availability in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, and parts of Pennsylvania, as well as national availability on several cable and satellite television distributors. The network currently showcases live Yankees and Nets games to approximately 9 million households in the teams’ television territory in the New York area. Outside of the New York area, the YES Network also distributes a variety of national programming to millions of homes across the country.“We've long been a believer in the unique appeal of sports entertainment. Partnering upstream with rights holders is even more important today in the dynamic media marketplace in which we compete. This is a tremendous opportunity to enhance News Corporation’s industry-leading portfolio of sports properties, while also strategically re-entering the New York market,” said James Murdoch, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, News Corporation. “The YES Network represents the gold standard for regional sports networks and is a pioneer in sports media. We look forward to working with Yankee Global Enterprises, the network’s management team, and all of our partners to build on a decade of success and take the YES Network to even greater heights.”