There will be no last-minute shifts in the thought process, and a multi-billion dollar deal will not be torpedoed. On Friday, Sinclair announced that the acquisition of Fox RSNs (which was agreed to back in May) had been approved by the Justice Department. They are now Sinclair RSNs, who now call aside.
The total value of the RSNs was set at $ 10.6 billion, and the total purchase price was $ 9.6 billion. So distribute $ 9.6 billion (via the release of Sinclair), and note that Sinclair only pays $ 1.4 billion in cash.
The total purchase price, transaction costs and an additional cash amount contributed to Diamond were funded through a $ 1945 billion Sinclair $ 1.0 billion preferred stock of preferred equity issued by a parent company of Diamond (also an indirect subsidiary of Sinclair), a $ 3.3 billion secured term B loan facility entered into by Diamond, and $ 3.1 billion with secured notes and $ 1.8 billion of senior notes issued by Diamond and Diamond Sports Finance Company.
If you're wondering what the hell "Diamond" is, it's the new holding company for RSNs under the Sinclair umbrella. Byron Allen, the comedian who owns Entertainment Studios and bought The Weather Channel last year, is also linked to the acquisition of RSNs and the formation of Diamond.
RSNs were purchased through a newly formed, indirect subsidiary of Sinclair, Diamond Sports Group, LLC (“Diamond”). Byron Allen has agreed to become a share and content partner in a newly formed indirect subsidiary of Sinclair and an indirect parent company of Diamond (“RSN Holding Company”). Mr. Allen, who purchased The Weather Channel in 2018, is the founder, chairman and CEO of Entertainment Studios, a global media, content and technology company.
Right after Sinclair's deal with Disney became public knowledge, CEO Chris Ripley talked about potential innovations on game broadcasts across the RSN, including (of course) money games. There was also some concern from the distributors about Sinclair's purchase of the RSNs due to how the company negotiated transport agreements, but since then both Charter and Cox have agreed on new agreements for the RSNs.
What's next? Sinclair has been rumored as a potential buyer for AT & T's small package of RSNs, which will promote their sports teams, and the company is also launching a Chicago RSN, Marquee Sports Network, with the Cubs in 2020. In terms of branding, it's still up in the air, but it would make sense for Sinclair to have the RSNs re-branded over the next couple of months, with the MLB season ending and the NBA and NHL seasons starting. A mid-season brand change happened a couple of years ago with AT&T SportsNet (from Root Sports), but NBC Sports re-branded their RSNs nationally in October during the short time between the baseball and basketball / hockey seasons.
As a name, Sinclair is not going to put his own name on it. The RSNs are likely to be labeled as something like "Diamond Sports (region)," which definitely brings baseball to mind first and foremost. You'd think that if a national rebrand from Marquee Sports were to happen, at least the RSN holding company would have the word Marquee in it. A third alternative somehow involves working Stadium into the name, since Sinclair also owns Stadium and has worked pretty hard to build that brand over the past year. Stadium programming can also fill a decent portion of the RSN airwaves when live events are not on the air.
So far, all we can do is wait, read the tea leaves and hope that the rebrand and the transition go smoothly. If not, at least we have plenty of local RSN drama to write about.