Both broadcasters plan on having more capital following a groundbreaking FCC auction. The process allows TV station owners to sell TV broadcast licenses to wireless companies, with the government acting as a middle man.
Sinclair will receive $313 million from the auction and Tribune will collect $190 million. All together, broadcasters will pocket $10 billion.
TV station owners will pay especially close attention to the FCC's meeting on Thursday, as the agency considers governing how many stations a single broadcaster can own.
Fitch analyst Patrice Cucinello suggested in a report that a merger of Sinclair and Tribune could set the table for more deals.
"CBS (CBS) has publicly stated that it would be interested in acquiring additional television stations if there was a loosening of the FCC's ownership rules," Cucinello wrote. "Nexstar Media Group (NXST) closed its acquisition of Media General in January 2017 and, in Fitch's opinion, would continue to be a consolidator of TV assets."
A merger of Sinclair and Tribune would need approval from both the FCC and the Department of Justice.
The post-merger company would hold more than 30% of 21st Century Fox's (FOXA) TV households, Jefferies analyst John Janedis noted, and if Fox is not happy it could oppose the transfer of affiliates. "On a practical level it would be very difficult for Fox to then replace the owner in each market, but at a minimum this gives the networks a voice in the process," Janedis wrote.
So even if the FCC allows station owners like Sinclair to have larger sway, the purchase of Tribune might not be free of conflict.