Entertainer Ice Cube has fuelled rumours that he is part of an investment group interested in buying some of the US Regional Sports Networks that are part of the Fox/Disney asset sale.
Disney agreed to divest the 22 regional sports networks (RSNs) in the US that came as part of its $71.3bn (€62.7bn) purchase of 21st Century Fox’s movie and television assets in order to avoid antitrust implications. The RSNs could be sold piecemeal or as a package, leading to a great deal of speculation about who could buy them.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Ice Cube said of the possibility of buying the RSNs: “That’s all my head is about. I believe that some of the gatekeepers that have been holding the reins in sports over us for so long need to go. It’s time for some new blood to produce and present sports and culture, not only to America but the world.
“It’s time for new people that think in a new and different way to have some control over what we see and what we get because the way [the RSNs] are being run now is pretty dismal. I think the sports world should hope that we get it.”
Ice Cube first broke into sport three years ago with the founding of the BIG3 basketball league. In July it was reported that billionaire Carolyn Rafaelian, who was also a partner in the Big3 enterprise, was working with Ice Cube and fellow entertainer LL Cool J to bid for the regional network packages.
The crown jewel in the RSNs is the YES Network in New York, which has the rights to New York Yankees games. Disney believes the network is worth between $5bn and $6bn. All 22 stations combined were valued at more than $20bn in analysis by investment bank Guggenheim Securities.
It has also been reported that “New Fox,” the company that will remain after Rupert Murdoch sells $71.3bn worth of 21st Century Fox assets to Disney is the leading contender to buy back all of the RSNs it “sold” to Disney as part of the larger transaction.