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Disney-FOX Deal will Shake Up Sports

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Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Co., speaks during the Disney Legends Awards at the D23 Expo 2017 in Anaheim, California, U.S., on Friday, July 14, 2017. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

The sports world is digesting the proposed buyout of FOX TV sports properties including a number of regional sports networks by the Walt Disney Company and what it means.

Disney gets 21st Century Fox, including Twentieth Century Fox movie and TV studios, cable networks, international TV networks such as Star and Sky and a stake in Hulu for $52.4 billion. Assuming that Rupert Murdoch and his FOX company gets the Department of Justice and other agencies to sign off on the deal, Disney would add 22 regional sports networks to its portfolio including the YES Network in New York, Prime Ticket and Fox Sports West in Los Angeles.

Disney would assume deals with 44 teams in Major League Baseball, the NBA and the NHL that presently are in place. FOX is not getting out of the sports business. The over-the-air FOX TV network will remain and that includes deals with Major League Baseball and the National Football League. FS1, FS2 and the Big Ten Network also stay with FOX.

How this all plays out will be of significant interest given that Disney’s ESPN has been losing subscribers and been cutting costs because of that. The big unknown at this point is how the Disney acquisition of FOX products plays into the Disney plan of starting a streaming service similar to Netflix in a couple of years.

The NFL has dipped its toe into a different media platform using Amazon Prime’s streaming service for Thursday night games this year. The NFL has just signed a new five year deal with Verizon estimated to bring about $2.5 billion into the league that will enable Verizon’s Yahoo Sports apps to join the NFL’s app allowing consumers to watch football on mobile devices.

AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint users will also be able to watch games using those apps. The FOX-Disney deal will shake up sports.

By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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