Attempting to add to its burgeoning network portfolio, Comcast Corp. is
talking with Cablevision Systems Corp. about acquiring the MSO’s stake in some
or all of its five regional sports networks.
Sources close to the situation said Comcast is in talks with Cablevision’s
Rainbow Sports division to gain ownership of Rainbow’s majority stakes in Fox
Sports Chicago, Fox Sports Ohio, Fox Sports Bay Area, Fox Sports New England and
Fox Sports Florida.
Of special interest to Comcast are the regionals in Chicago and the Bay area
-- the latter of which covers the San Francisco-Oakland DMA -- where Comcast
controls most of the cable homes.
Any Comcast-Cablevision deal would also have to involve News Corp., which
owns a minority interest in the five regional sports services.
Comcast and News Corp. have pulled off regional sports-network swaps in the
In 2001, Comcast gained full control of Washington, D.C.-based Home Team
Sports from News Corp. in return for the rights to Minnesota-based Midwest
Sports Channel. Comcast acquired a stake in MSC and a two-thirds share of HTS
from Viacom Inc. in return for increased cable carriage of several Viacom-owned
Comcast has said that it wants to acquire programming networks and, in
particular, sports services. The MSO currently owns the Comcast SportsNet
regional networks in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.