Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) announced on Tuesday that they reached a deal with the Comcast Corporation to fully acquire NBC Sports Washington — the TV rights holder of Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards games. MSE is majority owned by Ted Leonsis.
MSE fully acquired NBCSWSH by purchasing NBCUniversal’s 67% stake. MSE previously held 33 percent of the media company after first buying in six years ago. The financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
The purchase now gives MSE the option of building a potential powerful streaming platform and more power to shape the primary coverage of its own sports teams.
“This is key to our strategy for developing our one-of-a-kind sports and entertainment platform: a super-regional sports & entertainment business featuring multiple teams, multiple venues, multiple networks, and multiple technologies – fully integrated,” Ted Leonsis said via Twitter.
Added Zach Leonsis in a release, “We at Monumental Sports & Entertainment are incredibly excited to have reached an agreement to acquire NBC Sports Washington, an important business for our current and future core business operations. Comcast NBCUniversal has built a strong regional sports network in NBC Sports Washington. We look forward to further enhancing and innovating on the already best-in-class experience that our fanbase enjoys of watching live sports, for years to come.”
As part of the deal, NBCUniversal will continue to help put games go on air for the next 18 months “by providing corporate and shared services, including distribution, technical resources, and production facilities.”
The release also states that MSE’s acquisition of NBC Sports Washington is subject to regulatory approval.
For years, Ted Leonsis has openly spoken about how local sports teams should team up with their regional sports networks as a response to cable bundles declining.
“You could see a solution for RSNs if they roll into [a] bigger enterprise, so that business ends up with buildings and teams and the network,” Leonsis said to Sportico. That would give the RSN “a platform to buy [another] team locally or merge with [another] team locally in another league, so that it is getting the roll-up effect, but it’s geographic in nature.” That way, he said, the RSN “can get some true leverage.”
With TV viewership declining and streaming rising, MSE will now have the ability to mimic other sports media conglomerates, like MSG Network (NHL’s New York Rangers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils and the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer), and do direct to consumer streaming.
Leonsis said MSG Network was “the right strategy for the time.”
Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand reports that there are plans for MSE to set up a “stop quality streaming service” and create more alternative broadcasts of games that have a focus on gambling. Monumental plans to rebrand the channel and drop NBC Sports from the name eventually.
Ourand says NBCSWSH sold because Leonsis was eager to buy and not due to underlying business reasons.
Headline photo: Ian Oland/RMNB
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