Regional sports networks have been struggling lately, with Dish Network removing its AT&T SportsNet and Root Sports channels earlier this month and NBCUniversal reportedly interested in selling its own networks.
Now, a familiar hero could step in: Fanatics.
The sports merchandiser has reportedly discussed the possibility of entering the RSN business.
Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin has attended meetings with an array of sports and media executives to discuss a move into the sector. According to Sports Business Journal those meetings are currently at a standstill as the company focuses on other parts of its business.
- Fanatics raised $325 million at an $18.4 billion valuation in August.
- The company was reportedly in talks with Rush Street Interactive and Bettson last month as it looks to buy a sportsbook operation.
- In September, Fanatics’ new trading card company raised $350 million at a $10.4 billion valuation after signing deals with the NBA, NBPA, MLB, MLBPA, and NFLPA.
Taking over RSNs would be no easy task. NBCU’s regional sports networks saw subscriber numbers drop from 190.2 million in 2014 to 145.8 million in 2020, despite spending over $4 billion each year on media rights.