Michael Kay will continue to be the primary play-by-play voice of the Yankees after signing a new multi-year agreement with the YES Network, according to a release. Kay has been with YES since the network launched in 2002 and he’s not leaving anytime soon. No word on the other announcers, if you’re wondering.
Early last week, an agreement was reached allowing News Corp. to purchase 49% — potentially as much as 80% down the road — of the YES Network from investors like Goldman Sachs and Providence Equity. The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of the calendar year. Here’s some more on the transaction, courtesy of Richard Sandomir…
- The Yankees will retain control of all Yankees-related content on the network. The announcers will continue to be biased — “We tell our people if you want to be bipartisan and fair, don’t work for YES,” said team president Randy Levine to Sandomir — and long-running features like Yankeeography and Yankees Classics aren’t going anywhere.
- FOX, which is owned by News Corp., will bring some programming to the network however. It doesn’t sound like a SportsCenter-esque, nightly sports news show is in the cards though.
- The Yankees will receive $420M from News Corp. to keep the team on YES through 2042. They’re getting half of that now and the other half in three years. Just think, they’re trimming payroll in less than 16 months.
- Just as we heard the other day, Sandomir says the Steinbrenners are unlikely to sell the team in the wake of the agreement. The team continues to make a fortune and, perhaps more importantly, the family would get slapped with a massive tax bill should they sell.
The Yankees officially announced an agreement that allows News Corp. to acquire a 49% stake (which could reportedly grow to 80%) in the YES Network from investors like Goldman Sachs, NJ Holdings, and Providence Equity yesterday. The deal is still pending MLB approval and is expected to close by the end of the calendar year. The sale price indicates that the network is worth approximately $3 billion right now, meaning it’s likely more valuable than the team itself. Here’s more on the transaction courtesy of Darren Rovell, Andy Fixmer, and Scott Soshnick…
- The Yankees will sell 9% of their stake in YES, lowering their share to 25% and earning the club a whopping $270M. The team might also receive a $400-500M payment separate from the rights agreement, so think of it like a signing bonus.
- As part of the transaction, the Yankees have extended their agreement with YES to ensure the network will broadcast games through 2042. YES currently pays the team $85M annually for broadcast rights, but escalators will push that to $350M annually (!) by the end of the new agreement.
- Goldman, NJ Holdings, and Providence will retain some stake in YES but will have the option to sell the remainder to the Yankees and News Corp. in four years for a portion of the predetermined market value of $3.8 billion. That’s what everyone expects the network to be worth in 2016.
- Although there has been speculation (including by me) this deal with News Corp. is an indication the Steinbrenner family will look to sell the team down the line, the reporting trio all say this move puts them in better position to hold on to the club long-term.
- Brian Heyman has official statements from Hal Steinbrenner and others, so check that out if you’re interested.
Nov. 19th: News Corp. would acquire 49% of YES in the transaction according to Richard Sandomir and Amy Chozick, but there would be the option to increase their stake to as much as 80% in 3-5 years. I can’t help but wonder if that option is an indication that the Steinbrenners have their eye on selling the club down the line. The network, meanwhile, is worth a bit more than $3 billion, meaning it is likely more valuable than the team itself. In-freakin’-sanity.
Nov. 15th: Via Matthew Futterman: News Corp. is closing in on a deal to purchase a minority stake in the YES Network. They have their eye on the nearly 40% share currently owned by long-time investors Goldman Sachs and Providence Equity Partners. The Yankees own about one-third of the network and aren’t selling any portion of their share.
Last month we learned that the team was looking for investors to buy out Goldman and Providence. News Corp. is a monster, the world’s second largest media group in terms of revenue. They have stakes in FOX, The New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal among many other media outlets. Futterman says YES is likely to raise the monthly fees (which currently lag behind other regional networks) it receives from cable providers when their contracts expire in the coming years. In other words, the deal will make the Yankees a ton of money and your cable bill might be slightly higher in the future. Business as usual, really.
Via Richard Sandomir: The Yankees are looking for investors to buy out their YES Network ownership partners. The team is not selling its stake — Yankee Global Enterprises owns about one-third of the network — but is looking for purchasers to buy stakes currently held by Goldman Sachs, Providence Equity, and others.
“We want to keep our options open and see what the marketplace is … It’s important to find out what the price would be out in the marketplace and if there is someone comfortable with paying it,” said team president Randy Levine, who recently met with FOX executives along with Hal Steinbrenner and Goldman Sachs partner Gerald Cardinale. Investors like Goldman usually flip their stakes in companies after a few years, but they’ve stuck with YES because the network is a money-making machine. The Yankees went through a similar process back in 2007.
Marakovits previously worked as an anchor for SNY and covered the Yankees for 1050 ESPN Radio in 2010. She’s also been a sideline reporter for the Philadelphia 76ers, covered the Phillies as a beat writer for 950 ESPN Radio, and contributed to WFAN in the past. You can follow her on Twitter at @M_Marakovits.
Via Neil Best, Kim Jones will not be back as the YES Network’s clubhouse/sideline reporter in 2012. They offered her a contract, but she’s decided to pursue other opportunities after seven seasons on the job. I enjoyed Kim’s reporting and wish her the best, but I sure hope this means a lot more Jack Curry.