Welcome to the latest episode of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research where Associate Stock Strategist Ben Rains discusses reports that Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) is looking to buy the YES Network from Disney (DIS - Free Report) as it tries to expand its streaming sports business. The episode then dives into Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s (BABA - Free Report) new NBA partnership, before checking out the latest sports betting news.
Amazon is currently trying to buy the New York Yankees’ regional sports network, according to reports from the New York Post and other outlets. An Amazon-led group of investors, which also includes the New York Yankees, is said to be nearing a deal that would see the e-commerce powerhouse buy an 80% stake in the YES Network for about $3.5 billion. The move would give Amazon the rights to broadcast the New York Yankees, the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and New York City FC of Major League soccer.
The move is part of Amazon’s larger push to expand its streaming sports business as it tries to become an entertainment giant. Disney was forced to divest Twenty-First Century Fox’s 22 RSNs as part of regulatory approval of its $71 billion Fox deal. YES Network is one of the most attractive of this group of RSNs and currently commands the second-highest subscriber fees, behind only ESPN.
Wall Street will be watching Amazon’s sports pursuit closely as Disney expands its ESPN+ streaming offering. Meanwhile, YouTube TV (GOOGL - Free Report) and Hulu have tried to attract cord-cutting sports fans in the Netflix (NFLX - Free Report) age. Amazon’s ability to amass sports rights could help it stand out in a market that will soon feature Apple (AAPL - Free Report) and AT&T (T - Free Report) .
Meanwhile, the NBA and Alibaba announced an updated partnership last week. The Chinese e-commerce company will now be able to show highlights, classic games, and original programming. An “NBA Section” will be launched across Alibaba’s platforms that aims to put NBA merchandise and content all in one place. The NBA is one of the most popular sports in China, but Tencent (TCEHY - Free Report) currently holds the rights to stream NBA games in the country. Still, it is a step in the right direction for the Amazon of China as it expands its sports offerings, which already includes the World Cup and digital initiatives with the Olympics.
The episode then closes with a quick look at WarnerMedia’s deal with Caesars Entertainment (CZR - Free Report) . Turner Sports’ Bleacher Report will start to roll out sports betting content as part of the new agreement. The move follows ESPN’s recent sports betting announcement and is part of a larger sports betting expansion that has seen professional sports leagues partner with MGM (MGM - Free Report) and Caesars.
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