We heard about this last week, but now it’s official and now we know how big a stake:
News Corporation said Tuesday it was acquiring a 49 percent stake in the Yes Network, the New York Yankees’ regional cable sports channel. Yankee Global Enterprises, Goldman Sachs and other investors will reduce their ownership as part of the transaction.
News Corp gets an option to buy up to an 80 percent stake in the network. If that were to happen the Steinbrenner family and the Yankees, obviously, would be a lot more like every other team which receives rights payments from a broadcaster rather than having one side of the house pay the other. Which makes this more interesting:
The Yankees also committed to stay on Yes Network through 2042, subject to approval of the deal from Major League Baseball.
Huh. You have to assume that there is some sort of mechanism to automatically keep those TV rights at the top of the market, because locking in to some sort of relationship for the next thirty years would, quite obviously, hurt the Yankees’ ability to get top value for broadcast rights from the presumably then third-party YES Network.