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21st Century Fox to take majority control of YES Network

Jan 25, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

YES Network

According to the Associated Press, 21st Century FOX announced an agreement Friday to raise its ownership stake in YES Network from 49 percent of 80 percent, thus taking majority control. The deal is expected to close by the end of March.

Fox originally bought in on YES in 2012 and had the right to increase their stake to 80 percent. The Yankees, who have never had a majority share in the network according to Newsday, will continue to own the remaining 20 percent after the deal is finalized.

Here’s a statement from Yankees co-chairman Hal Steinbrenner:

“Clearly, 21st Century Fox is a great partner for us as the YES Network fulfills and expands its potential as one of the nation’s premier regional sports networks. We are gratified that 21st Century Fox has increased their stake and investment in the network. Yankee Global Enterprises is eager to continue working with 21st Century Fox as we explore ways to take YES to even greater heights.”

Wendy Thurm, who does an excellent job tracking the various television rights deals over at FanGraphs, writes that this will result in more cash for the Yankees. While it’s not quite on the level of the Dodgers, Thurm estimates that they’ll receive somewhere in the range of $150 million annually.

  1. El Pollo Loco - Jan 25, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Rupert Murdock conquers yet again .

  2. ditto65 - Jan 25, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    I thought baseball was dying.
    I thought baseball was ruined.

    With all this cash, there is sure to be one fantastic wake.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 25, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      omg…….A-Rod ruined baseball.

    • Reflex - Jan 25, 2014 at 6:13 PM

      The Yankees have virtually their entire non-luxury tax payroll covered by this one deal. This is before one factors in tickets, parking, merchandise, national tv revenue, bonus money for playoffs, internet revenue, and dozens of other revenue streams. By my count there are at least three teams in this position now, where main payroll is essentially covered by only the local tv deal, the Yankees, Dodgers and Angels. There are a couple others I am likely forgetting.

      Remember this the next time one of these teams claims they are trying to ‘stay under the luxury tax threshhold’ or claims that they can’t afford to add that one expensive piece. Remember this the next time someone thinks one of their players is getting paid too much. Remember this as you watch the Yankees field an atrocity at second base all year rather than one of the best five players in the game today.

      Its all lies. These teams could afford, at current player salaries, to put an all star at every single position, if the talent was available. End of story. Failure to do so due to lack of available free agent or farm talent is one thing. Failure to do so while claiming some sort of financial restriction is a lie, and treats their fans like they cannot do basic math.

  3. bigdaddystyle - Jan 25, 2014 at 11:56 AM

    As a Yankees fan, hopefully Fox will start criticizing the team when they make mistakes. Because right now they’re unbearably positive no matter what happens. Who am I kidding….the Yankees 20% will still buy that kind of coverage. We just can’t get unbiased broadcasts these days.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 25, 2014 at 12:43 PM

      as a Yankee fan, what is there to criticize, winning?
      you obviously had a few too many beer last night, settle
      down and get yourself together.

  4. dirtyharry1971 - Jan 25, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Best station ever, best baseball coverage and best announcers in the game. Great programming, I can watch this station 24/7 365 days a year.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 25, 2014 at 12:50 PM

      Yankee fans care about, # 28, this has nothing to do with how the Yankees
      baseball and how things will operate, expect the same business as usual..

      • Reflex - Jan 25, 2014 at 6:19 PM

        If the Yankees cared about #28 so much they would have re-signed Cano. The Yankees care about profits first and foremost. #28 may happen, they built a decent team, but they did not do all they needed to do to win #28 even though they can well afford to.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 25, 2014 at 8:21 PM

        @ reflex, your reply to fanofevilempire’s comment while it may or may not be accurate completely ignores what his comment was referring to. fanofevilempire specifically said “Yankee fans care about #28, this has nothing to do with how the Yankees….operate”,

        Yet your reply went on and on about what you believe the Yankees care about. That was not what fanofevilempire posted..

      • Reflex - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:01 AM

        That is a good point, I somehow skipped the word ‘fans’ when reading his response.

  5. anxovies - Jan 25, 2014 at 12:37 PM

    Oh no! If McCarver starts showing up as an announcer I’m ditching my Mantle jersey and tuning in NESN.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 25, 2014 at 12:52 PM

      I will just mute that fool out, I can’t imagine listening to ALL his Cardinal stories
      during the Yankees Red Sox game. Please tell me you are bull sheeting.

  6. cruuuzcontrol - Jan 25, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Good for the Yankees… A phat check from Rupe Murdoch to cover their luxury tax bills.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 25, 2014 at 12:57 PM

      I don’t think the Yankees are short on cash, they just don’t want to own a network.
      I would be worried if they put the team up for sale, then you have to wonder, as it
      is now the Yankees just spent close to a half billion dollars this season. I have no
      doubt it’s business as usual, break camp and head North with visions of #28 in sight.

  7. cruuuzcontrol - Jan 25, 2014 at 1:05 PM

    I never said they’re short on cash. I don’t think they are. But I do think they’re using this YES sale to balance out the luxury tax money they’re going to have to pay. Regardless of how rich the franchise is, that’s a significant cost that has to get paid somehow. This is an easy way to pay it off without having much effect on the bottom line.

    • fanofevilempire - Jan 25, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      My friend, I’m trying to tell you they don’t need help paying the luxury tax, they are printing money, they will get paid by fox to broadcast the games, that is hundreds of millions per year.
      They built up the Network and flipped it to someone who wants to own it , fox. I never quoted
      you, just a statement but who knows maybe they don’t have money, I don’t care, just win!

  8. cackalackyank - Jan 25, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Just seems 31% of yes should be worth more than 150 million a year in this day and age. If it was just Yankee games on YES it might make sense. But there’s other sports coverage on there, too.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 25, 2014 at 5:22 PM

      My friend the Yankees prior to any negotiations with Fox before 2012 only owned 33% of YES they receved as part of Fox taking their initial purchase about $450MM upfront payment and still had an ownership position and were guaranteed about $80MM annual payment plus small increases each year. NOW with FOX increasing their percentage to 80% the Yankees own the other 20% they also control all the Yankees programming period they also still own 20% of YES and now their yearly check from FOX instead of roughly $80MM goes to $150MM +/-.

      Sounds like the Yankees made out big time. I believe I’ve stated the new situation correctly.

    • uyf1950 - Jan 25, 2014 at 6:06 PM

      @ cackalackyank , here is piece that appeared today on RAB. It explains it more accurately and better.
      Yankee Global Enterprises still owns the remaining 20% of YES and they’re getting a boatload of cash through the deal, with annual television revenue jumping from $85M to an estimated $150M. That number is expected to climb to $350M (!) annually within the next 30 years. That money is separate from what amounts to a $420M signing bonus Yankees Global Enterprises will receive from 2013-15 as part of the deal. More details on the original News Corp. deal are here, here, and here.

      • Reflex - Jan 25, 2014 at 6:20 PM

        But they couldn’t afford Cano. He was asking too much. Obviously.

      • uyf1950 - Jan 25, 2014 at 6:53 PM

        @ Reflex, you misstate the Cano situation. It wasn’t that they couldn’t afford Cano as I’m sure you know. It’s that the Yankees didn’t believe he was worth his asking price of 10 years and about $250MM +/- at 31 years old. The Yankees weren’t about to make the same mistake with Cano that they made with A-Rod. I think we both know that’s a more accurate assessment of the Cano situation.

        Besides I would think you would be happy the Yankees loss is in theory the Mariners win.

      • cackalackyank - Jan 25, 2014 at 7:49 PM

        Thanks, uyf. I knew there had to be more to it.

      • Reflex - Jan 26, 2014 at 12:09 AM

        1) Cano took $240 million and I believe stated that he would have taken slightly less than that from the Yanks, although I could be mistaken

        2) The A-Rod situation was created in a very different environment several years ago before player salaries inflated. Comparing a $24m/year salary given to a 31 year old to $27m/year salary given to a 33 year old six years ago when average salaries were much lower is a poor comparison. When the A-Rod deal was offered A-Rod was by far the highest paid player in the game, despite being older than Cano is today. Cano is not the highest paid player, even with this deal, and the average and top salaries have inflated greatly since.

        3) I am happy the M’s signed Cano. But it was still idiotic of the Yankees to let him go. Their infield is an atrocity, and if they lose out on the playoffs again this failure will likely be a large reason for it (second would be the potentially unreliable pitching).

        4) The Yankees claimed it was about money. The Tanaka deal proves that false. The YES deal proves it laughably false.

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