According to sources, retail giant Amazon has bid on 22 regional sports networks (RSN) along with Yes Network of New York Yankees. These regional channel networks are local cable channels that telecast live games played by regional teams at the professional level, college and even school levels along with commentary that is relayed during those games. 21st Century Fox’s RSN holding were valued at $22.4 billion that were sold to Disney during its $71 billion acquisition of the former’s entertainment assets. But Disney is selling the RSN’s after federal regulators have approved the sale of only the RSNs. If Amazon manages to win few or all of them, then the purchase would be biggest foray by a tech company into the world of sports-based entertainment.
Though few other tech firms have made forays into streaming live and recorded games, but none have acquired the rights of big budget deals as those are usually handled by TV companies. Amazon’s ownership of RSNs would give the firm greater insight into the economics of local sports rights and also an avenue to experiment with local matches that may not have national level audience. Presently, Amazon streams midweek matches of NFL that are also aired on NFL’s television networks and Fox’s network.
The RSNs’ on sale are Fox Sports of Arizona, Detroit and Florida along with a bunch of regional cable channels that have broadcasting rights over local professional sports teams. Amazon today is one of the biggest players in internet based entertainment that delivers streaming content with Prime Video package that is part of its Amazon Prime subscription service. The Prime Video division offers a combination of original story series along with popular television shows and licensed movies. With addition of RSNs, the firm would have something new to offer its customers if it is included with Prime Video that will differentiate it from the likes of Netflix and Hulu.