Comedian Byron Allen has quietly become one of the most successful entertainment moguls. As CEO of Entertainment Studios, his company owns cable networks such as Automotive.TV, Cars.TV, Comedy.TV, MyDestination.TV, Pets.TV, and Recipe.TV.
Last year, Allen made history by purchasing the Weather Channel for 300 million dollars. He has made history yet again with the newly formed Diamond Sports Group, LLC. a subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcasting Group. This company is being formed by Sinclair as the entity that will be purchasing 21 regional sports networks (plus Fox College Sports) from Walt Disney Co. Allen is a minority investor in Sinclair and according to Forbes, is slated to become an equity and content partner in Diamond. Allen’s offer outbid a collection of high-profile entertainers, athletes led by Ice Cube, Magic Johnson, Will Smith, Dr. Dre, and others.
Previously, Disney had agreed to sell the 22 networks in order to get regulatory approval from the Department of Justice for its $71.3 billion deal with 21st Century Fox.
“This is a very exciting transaction for Sinclair to be able to acquire highly complementary assets,” Chris Ripley, president and CEO of Sinclair said in a statement. Ripley added that although consumer viewing habits have shifted over the years, “the tradition of watching live sports and news remains ingrained in our culture.”
Allen is a minority investor in Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.’s $9.6 billion acquisition of the Fox regional sports networks from Walt Disney Co. — a deal that catapults the entertainment entrepreneur into the big leagues. He’ll have an interest in 21 channels covering sports from Los Angeles to Miami.
“It’s a huge opportunity,” Allen, 58, said in an interview. The networks were put on the block by Disney after it agreed to buy a big piece of their former owner, Rupert Murdoch’s 21 Century Fox Inc. “I’m a huge fan of Rupert Murdoch,” Allen said, “and this is some of his best work.”