Add Major League Baseball to the list of 40-plus suitors for Twenty-First Century Fox’s regional sports TV networks.
MLB’s interest in the 22 regional sports networks put up for sale by Disney — a condition of clearing its $71.3 billion purchase of Fox — was reported on Wednesday in the sports business blog JohnWallStreet and confirmed by The Post.
“Candidly, we’re looking at the RSNs ourselves,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday at a March of Dimes luncheon in New York.
An MLB spokesman declined to comment on Manfred’s interest in the RSNs.
Sources said the MLB could attract financial backers for a bid — which it would clearly need, as Fox has set a floor price of $20 billion — with its claims on streaming rights to all MLB games.
But insiders also note that some MLB teams have countered with claims that they, not MLB, own the streaming rights to their games, setting the stage for potential legal tussles.
MLB ownership of the RSNs would dramatically change the league’s business model, putting it much deeper into ad and subscription fees — a business far afield from staging nine-inning games.
But “fairness” could become another problem, one source said. That’s because MLB games are broadcast by a dozen independent RSNs in addition to the 22 owned by Fox — a setup that could make MLB’s entry “cumbersome” and riddled with conflicts, the source said.
Fox shares a common owner with News Corp., which publishes The Post.
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