The owner of the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Bulls pro sports teams has acquired the majority of Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Stadium television channel, according to a report.
On Tuesday, the website Front Office Sports said Jerry Reinsdorf’s Silver Chalice sports media business purchased a controlling stake in the sports network, which Reinsdorf helped create in 2017.
Stadium began as a streaming-only sports network that broadcast niche athletic competitions and related programming. Sinclair has since distributed it on some of its broadcast television stations, and bundled Stadium in pay television deals to help it gain carriage on cable systems across the country.
Sources reportedly told Front Office Sports that Sinclair’s decision to sell a controlling stake in Stadium was based in part on business issues within the media firm, including the ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy case involving its regional sports subsidiary Diamond Sports.
In April, Sinclair unveiled a proposed restructuring of its business, one that grouped its core broadcast and cable assets under the Sinclair Broadcast Group and its investment-based assets under a new subsidiary called Sinclair Ventures. Stadium and its sister sports network, the Tennis Channel, were lumped into the Sinclair Ventures portion of the company.
Front Office Sports hinted that Stadium, under Reinsdorf’s control, could make a play for regional telecast rights to Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox and Chicago Blackhawks games. Those rights are currently held by Comcast’s NBC Universal for the regional sports network NBC Sports Chicago; Comcast’s contract with the sports teams is set to lapse late next year.