YankeeNets LLC, the holding company that owns the famed Bronx baseball team, yesterday unwrapped plans to launch a regional sports cable TV network with a market valuation of around $850 million.

The network, branded Yankees Entertainment and Sports – or YES – will be 60% owned by the company, which not only controls the New York Yankees but also basketball team New Jersey Nets and ice hockey side New Jersey Devils. Other investors in the project are cable industry veterans Leo Hindery Jr and Amos B Hostetter Jr plus investment banks Goldman Sachs and Quadrangle Group.

The initiative signals a significant change in the control of TV rights by sports teams. Other big-name squads may emulate the move away from charging broadcasters a flat fee for coverage of their games, and into the revenue Eldorado of own-channel proprietorship pioneered by a number of European soccer teams.

News source: Wall Street Journal