On Tuesday an agreement was announced between Yankees Global Enterprises and News Corporation that the media company would acquire 49 percent holdings of the Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (YES). The current owners: Yankee Global Enterprises, Goldman Sachs and other investors will reduce their ownership in connection with this transaction.
The YES network provides exclusive live coverage of New York Yankees baseball, Brooklyn Nets basketball and local and national sports related programming to over 9 million households in the teams' territory of the tri-state area. The network also announced a media rights agreement that will keep Yankees baseball on YES through 2042.
"This transaction underscores the great value we and our partners created in establishing the YES Network and sets the network on the path for even greater achievements in the future," Hal Steinbrenner, chairman of Yankee Global Enterprises, said in a statement. "We are excited to have News Corporation as a partner. Its stature and acumen in sports broadcasting on a global scale is unmatched. We look forward to the many opportunities for growth and development that this investment by News Corporation will bring to YES. The Steinbrenner family expects to have a continuing, long-term ownership stake in the YES Network, and we will continue our yearly commitment of fielding a championship caliber team for decades to come."
According to a team release this agreement is subject to approval by Major League Baseball and would close by the end of this year. In this agreement News Corporation in three years could acquire an additional stake in YES that could bring New Corp ownership up to 80 percent.
In a statement James Murdoch, deputy chief operating officer of News Corporation said,"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. 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."
With the eventual possibility of News Corp acquiring a majority stake in YES Network the rumors have been flying that the Steinbrenner family would at some point sell the team. A senior team official earlier in the week said the team was not for sale and the Yankees are committed to reduce payroll before the luxury tax in 2014.
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