21st Century Fox to take majority control of YES Network

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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.

Bryce Harper is pandering hard to Philly fans

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Bryce Harper hadn’t even addressed his new hometown fans before his Phillies jersey started selling like hotcakes. Since then, he’s said all the expected things. Talking about joining the Phillies, he said, “From day one, it felt right … I always talk about family and being a family, being one unit, and I get that from this team. Every guy has your back and vice versa. I’m very excited to go into battle with these guys.”

Harper is continuing to pander hard to Phillies fans. Behold his latest Instagram post:

Has anyone ever really longed to see the Liberty Bell?

Harper also famously recreated that Chase Utley scene from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia with actor Rob McElhenney on Twitter:

In Harper’s next post, he will talk about alternating bottles of You-eng-ling beers with glasses of “wooder.” He’ll add that every so often he will treat himself to a steak sandwich with cheese on it, then go home to watch all of the movies in the Rocky series.