Major League Baseball’s owners are backing commissioner Rob Manfred’s plan to buy 21 of the 22 regional sports networks currently up for auction.
Disney is selling the RSNs a condition of its $71.3bn (€63bn) purchase of Fox’s entertainment assets. MLB is focusing on the 14 RSNs that carry MLB games, the New York Post reported.
“I think I would characterize the discussions among ownership as very supportive of the effort to determine whether we can be a successful bidder,” Manfred said.
“I think that ownership sees it as an opportunity for us to take additional control over our content. I think that we recognize that the media landscape is changing quickly and if somebody’s going to manage that changing landscape, we’d just soon that it be us.”
MLB has teamed up with the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board to buy the RSNs and, according to the New York Post, the league is looking for further investment partners, including major cable companies.
The New York Yankees remain in the hunt to buy the YES network. “We’re continuing to talk, continuing to make progress, but nothing’s been done yet,” Yankees principal owner Hal Steinbrenner said.
John Malone, the chairman of Liberty Media, is also looking to buy the RSNs while Sinclair Broadcast Group’s interest is uncertain.