• Loading stock data...
Saturday, June 22, 2024

Disney to Sell X Games to Phoenix Suns Exec’s Firm

  • A group led by private equity firms The Najafi Companies and MSP Sports Capital will buy the X Games from Disney-owned ESPN.
  • Both firms are associated with Phoenix Suns executive Jahm Najafi.
X Games/ESPN/Design: Alex Brooks

A year after initial reports that Disney was looking to sell, the X Games is set to change hands.

Investors led by The Najafi Companies, run by Phoenix Suns’ exec Jahm Najafi, and MSP Sports Capital have reportedly signed a letter of intent to purchase the extreme sports competition.

The X Games, taking place this weekend, has long been a property of ESPN, but the sports media giant has been looking to shed the event and possibly its broadcasting rights as it navigates a more streaming-focused world.

  • ESPN was looking to sell broadcasting rights to the X Games for around $100 million but was more likely to offload their intellectual property rights for about $50 million, The Information reported in January 2021.
  • Paid ESPN+ subscriptions grew to 17.1 million in Disney’s fiscal fourth quarter, a 66% increase from the previous year.

A Sports Private Equity Tag Team

The Najafi Companies has quietly built a large sports portfolio. Its investments include the Suns, Formula 1 team McLaren, Bundesliga’s FC Augsburg, Belgian soccer team Waasland-Beveren​​, La Liga 2 team AD Alcorcón, and MSP Sports Capital.

MSP, chaired by Najafi, agreed to invest $247 million in McLaren Racing for a 15% stake in December 2020. It also holds investments in FC Augsburg, Waasland-Beveren, AD Alcorcón, and Estoril Praia of Portugal’s Primeira Liga.

Former San Diego Padres vice chair and CEO Jeff Moorad is CEO of MSP.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

Finals Draw Underwhelming Viewership, but NBA Juggernaut Rolls On

The impact will be negligible on the NBA’s $76 billion media-rights talks.

TV Companies Losing Subscribers As Sports Rights Deals Continue to Rise

Four major TV provider companies reported huge losses.

The NFL Could Be the Key to Stephen A. Smith’s ESPN Future

Can Stephen A. Smith become the next Howard Cosell?

Roger Goodell Rips ‘Below Standard’ NFL Network Broadcasts in Trial Testimony

The commissioner testified in federal court that NFL Network was subpar.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

How Women’s Sports Media is Charting Its Own Path


Featured Today

Jan 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; General view of the NFL shield logo signage before the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field.

Odds Stacked Against NFL in Multibillion-Dollar Sunday Ticket Trial

Why the class action trial does not look promising for the league.
Jan 7, 2024; San Francisco, California, USA; Toronto Raptors forward Jontay Porter (11) takes a three-point shot against the Golden State Warriors during the second half at Chase Center.
June 9, 2024

‘Bound to Happen’: The Age of the Sports Betting Scandal Has Arrived

A banishment, betting scheme, and guilty plea all in one scandal-filled span.
June 8, 2024

‘Experimental in Nature’: The Rapid, Confounding Rise of Streaming Bundles

Here’s why confusion continues to outweigh solutions in the streaming package boom.
June 2, 2024

The Nostalgia Market: Michael Jordan’s Memorabilia Remains Coveted, With Caveats

Due to scarcity, and sometimes, items’ undisclosed whereabouts, this world has limitations.

The ‘Big’ in Big 12 Could Soon Be Replaced With a Sponsor’s Name

Allstate is said to be in discussions about a deal with the Big 12.
June 12, 2024

Saudi Arabia’s Next Big Sports Target: Boxing, With Joint Venture Worth $5B

The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia is focusing on boxing as its next large-scale sports target.
June 13, 2024

Everything You Need to Know About the Schism Rocking Competitive Eating

The business story about hot dogs that you never knew you needed.

How HOKA is Reimagining the NIL Relationship

HOKA, the renowned athletic footwear and apparel brand, is betting on a new reality with NIL.
June 11, 2024

Breakthrough? Tiger Says PGA Tour and LIV Golf Are Eyeing ‘End Game’

Woods called a recent meeting ‘productive.’
June 10, 2024

Salt Lake City’s $4B Olympics Price Tag Could Be a Bargain: Here’s Why

Utah is the preferred bidder for the 2034 Games.
June 7, 2024

New Era’s Acquisition of ’47 Set to Reshape Sports Apparel Market

New Era is set to acquire ’47 in a deal creating a combined operation with $2 billion in annual revenue.
June 5, 2024

One Year After ‘Merger,’ the PGA Tour and LIV Golf Still Remain Far Apart

Leaders of the tours struck an agreement exactly one year ago.