Fox Corp. is not interested in buying Fox Sports Detroit, or any of its other regional sports networks, according to a report from Crain’s Detroit. The Walt Disney Co.’s purchased 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets last summer, which included the Fox regional sports networks (RSNs) like Fox Sports Detroit. However, Disney is selling off the Fox RSNs because of an antitrust deal; because Disney also owns ESPN, the U.S. justice department ruled that they cannot also keep the Fox RSNs.
Fox Sports Detroit broadcasts games for the Tigers, Red Wings, and Pistons. Terms of the RSN’s current contract with all three teams are unavailable, but as Crain’s reported, the Tigers’ contract is likely up in 2021. Fox Sports Detroit, based in Southfield, will likely have a new owner by that point. According to Crain’s, a sale of the RSNs (individually or as a group) must be completed within 90 days of the close of the Disney-Fox deal, which is expected in early 2019.
Who that new owner will be, however, is still up for debate. Sinclair Broadcast Group is the biggest name currently interested, while others like Amazon are also involved. One name, in particular, caught our eye.
It’s unknown who may buy the networks. Among entities reportedly interested are Sinclair Broadcast Group, private equity firms such Apollo Global Management and Blackstone Group, and even rap star Ice Cube. A sale must be completed within 90 days of the Disney-Fox deal’s close, which is expected in the first quarter. A second round of RSN bids is due this month.
Yes, this is a real thing.
Amazon, Sinclair, and numerous others are reportedly sniffing around at potentially buying some or all of the networks, but so is Ice Cube through his basketball league, the BIG3. The league is currently broadcast on FS1 and Fox, and Cube has noted his desire to purchase the regional sports networks to offer different possibilities for programming.
Given that Fox Sports Detroit is currently looking for new announcers to replace Mario Impemba and Rod Allen in the Tigers broadcast booth, it only makes sense to give DJ Yella and MC Ren a call now.