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Amazon Favored Over Comcast, FOX, and MLB to Purchase Fox Regional Sports Networks

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos could be opening his wallet soon for Fox regional sports networks. Photo by Seattle City Council (flickr) [CC License]
  • Amazon is favored to buy all 22 of Fox’s regional sports networks from the Walt Disney Co.
  • Will the Seattle-based Company be able to make a deal before the New Year?
  • Will Major League Baseball swoop in to buy the YES Network? 

The Seattle Mariners aren’t the only ones feverishly getting rid of assets these days.  The Walt Disney Co. is also trying to unload all 22 of Fox’s regional sports networks after acquiring them as part of their $71.3 billion purchase of Twenty-First Century Fox in July.

Disney, which also owns ESPN, is being forced to surrender the assets by the U.S. Department of Justice out of fears that the studio could hike up the cost of cable sports programming, making it prohibitively expensive for pay-TV operators and consumers alike.

Bovada has been following the situation closely and has created odds for which deep-pocketed suitor will buy the regional sports networks by December 31, 2018. Amazon currently has the edge at +155, and is followed closely by Comcast at +350, Major League Baseball at +500, and Fox at +1000.

Let’s take a closer look at the odds and see why each company may be interested.

Odds Amazon Buys Fox Regional Sports Networks

Will Amazon Buy Fox Regional Sports Networks Before December 31, 2018? Odds at Bovada
No -220
Yes +155

Can Amazon really be all things to all people? The retail giant seems to think so based upon its aggressive pursuit of Fox’s regional sports networks.

Amazon first dipped its toe into sports broadcasting in 2017 by becoming the streaming home to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football.

The Seattle-based company first dipped its toe into sports broadcasting in 2017 by becoming the streaming home to the NFL’s Thursday Night Football, and would surely love to add more sports programming to attract additional paid subscribers to its Prime service.

Odds Comcast Buys Fox Regional Sports Networks

Will Comcast Buy Fox Regional Sports Networks Before December 31, 2018? Odds at Bovada
No -600
Yes +350

It should come as no surprise to see Comcast here, as the pay-TV provider submitted its own $65 billion all-cash offer to acquire Twenty-First Century Fox. Comcast was ultimately outbid by Disney, but clearly still has interest in some of the bigger regional sports networks including Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket, which covers UCLA, USC, and the Los Angeles Clippers, and Fox Sports Ohio/SportsTime Ohio, which covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Cincinnati Reds, and Ohio State University.

Comcast has plenty of money left over from its failed bid, and it appears to be burning a whole in its pocket.

Odds MLB Buys Fox Regional Sports Networks

Will MLB Buy Fox Regional Sports Networks Before December 31, 2018? Odds at Bovada
No -900
Yes +500

Major League Commissioner Rob Manfred has been open about his league’s interest in the Fox regional sports networks. “We’re very interested in the RSN sale process and have preferences in terms of who the owners are going to be,” he recently confided. “Candidly, we’re looking at the RSNs ourselves.”

One of the 22 networks up for grabs is Yes Network, which broadcasts all of the New York Yankees’ games in the New York metropolitan area.

That makes perfect sense, since one of the 22 networks up for grabs is YES Network, which broadcasts all of the New York Yankees’ games in the New York metropolitan area. Bringing the Bronx Bombers back under the MB umbrella would be a major coup.

Odds Fox Buys Fox Regional Sports Networks

Will Fox Buy Fox Regional Sports Networks Before December 31, 2018? Odds at Bovada
No -5000
Yes +1000

It may seem counter intuitive, but “New Fox” executive chairman Rupert Murdoch is reportedly interested in buying back the 22 regional sports networks that he sold to Walt Disney Co. as part of the larger deal for Twenty-First Century Fox. It’s all part of his master plan to re-brand his new network as a destination for live news and sports.

Not only would Murdoch likely be able to buy the networks back at a fraction of the price he sold them for, but he’d also be able to rake in millions in lucrative tax benefits. The rich really do just keep on getting richer.

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