Timberwolves’ New Owners Exploring a ‘YES Network’ for Minnesota Sports

Marc Lore, Alex Rodriguez, Minnesota Timberwolves
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, news broke that Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez minority Minnesota Timberwolves ownership group added the 13th richest person in the world to their roster of owners, just the latest in a string of big time plans that have come out recently.

Timberwolves owners starting YES Network for Minnesota sports?

Just a few days ago, it was reported that A-Rod was at the Minneapolis Farmers Market recently, looking into that area as a possible spot for a future arena. Also on Thursday, The Athletic is reporting that those same minority owners are in discussions with RedBird Capital founder Gerry Cardinale about starting up a local TV broadcasting service that would have a very similar business plan to New York’s YES Network, which Cardinale founded.

Lore and Rodriguez also have had conversations with RedBird Capital founder Gerry Cardinale about collaborating on a new regional sports station to carry Timberwolves and Lynx games, in addition to other teams in the area, league sources said. Cardinale has deep connections to the New York Yankees and played a leading role in the formation of the YES Network in New York, which would serve as a model for a potential new venture in the Twin Cities area. 

The Athletic

If the NBA and NHL seasons started today, Wolves and Wild fans using Comcast Xfinity for their TV service would not have those games as part of their package. Obviously, that’s a problem, and it’s a problem that new Minnesota Timberwolves owners Alex Rodriguez and Marc Lore are trying to avoid.

Bally Sports North problems now endangering other Minnesota teams

minnesota timberwolves, bally sports north
Photo: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Twins have had issues reaching their audience for a handful of years, thanks to their deal with Bally Sports not including the team’s streaming rights. When everybody started cutting the cord, nobody could watch Twins games.

Then, the situation got worse in recent weeks, when Diamond Sports Group (parent company of Bally Sports’ regional networks) failed to reach an extension with Comcast, the largest cable provider in the industry.

Related: Lore, A-Rod Targeting Farmers Market Location for New Timberwolves Arena

The latter fallout, however, goes beyond baseball. Because Bally Sports hosts multiple sports teams, in most of its markets. We’ve already mentioned that Timberwolves and Wild games are broadcasted by Bally Sports North, but so are local women’s professional teams including the Lynx and MN’s PWHL team.

YES Network (Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network), which launched in 2002, primarily serves as the TV broadcast channel and partner for the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Nets, New York Liberty (WNBA) and New York City FC (MLS). One of its biggest stakeholders is Diamond Sports Group, though RedBird Capital still owns 13% too.

Of course, all of this is only in the planning stages right now, as we all wait for the arbitration process to play out in the ongoing ownership battle between the aforementioned Lore + A-Rod ownership group and longtime majority owner, Glen Taylor.

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