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Yankees sell off majority interest of YES Network to Fox

Michael Heiman

It was announced on Friday that the Yankees have sold their majority interest in the YES Network to 21st Century Fox. The team will still own a minority share of 20%, but Fox will now own 80% of the regional sports network. This deal means that the network, started as a joint venture between the Yankees and New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets in 2002, is now a consolidated entity of 21st Century Fox.

The final payout has not been made public, but Fox had previously acquired 49% of YES in December 2012 for a reported total of $584 million, so this new deal was really for another 31% of the business. Tracy Dolgin, president and chief executive officer of the YES Network, will remain in his current role and the deal will be made official by March 31, upon approval.

Both sides made statements on the matter:


"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," Yankees managing general partner Hal Steinbrenner said in a statement. "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."


"Our investment in the YES Network underscores our commitment to growing our global sports portfolio with offerings that are exceptional and unique," said James Murdoch, the deputy chief operating officer of 21st Century Fox. "We look forward to expanding our partnership with Yankee Global Enterprises and to working with the network's management team to build on the YES Network's success."

The Yankees spent nearly $500 million on free agents, including Masahiro Tanaka, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran, and Brian McCann, so if they made that much on their first deal, the Steinbrenners probably just got all their money back now. Too bad they still couldn't sign Robinson Cano.