Royals games may be shown on a network other than Fox Sports Kansas City next season.
While he Royals' contract with Fox Sports runs through the 2019 season, FSKC might be a casualty of the proposed Disney-Fox merger.
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice approved Disney $71 billion bid for a collection of 21st Century Fox’s assets with one caveat: it must sell Fox's 22 regional sports networks, including FSKC, according to multiple reports.
"American consumers have benefitted from head-to-head competition between Disney and Fox’s cable sports programming that ultimately has prevented cable television subscription prices from rising even higher," assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said in a statement. "Today’s settlement will ensure that sports programming competition is preserved in the local markets where Disney and Fox compete for cable and satellite distribution."
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When the proposed merger was announced last December, it seemed possible that Disney, which owns ESPN, would start a Kansas City-based network using FSKC as a base.
But according to USA Today, the Department of Justice said allowing Disney to also acquire Fox's regional networks, "would likely result in higher prices for cable sports programming" licensed to pay-TV operators where those local markets serve. That could lead to higher cable bills for viewers.
So what's next?
A Cleveland Plain-Dealer story said other regulatory agencies need to sign off on the proposed merger, and Comcast is considering upping its original offer of $65 billion to upwards of $90 billion.
If the sale becomes final, Disney would have 90 days to sell its regional networks.
The Hollywood Reporter published a memo from Fox CEO James Murdoch and co-executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch to employees:
"At this point we anticipate that the Disney transaction and the creation of new 'Fox' will be completed within 6-12 months.
"We realize the Department of Justice’s decision will reshape the future course of our regional sports businesses and add uncertainty for our colleagues across the RSNs. Our RSNs are an incredibly strong asset offering television’s most valuable content and we are confident that whatever the outcome, the future of our regional sports business will continue to be incredibly bright."
The Hill reported that under the proposed consent decree filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the Justice Department will have to approve of the buyer for the regional sports networks.