Will the Yankees Help News Corp. (NWS)?

One of the largest media companies in the world is partnering with the most famous sports franchise in American history.

News Corp. (NASDAQ: NWS) is buying a 49% stake in the Yes Network, the regional cable television home of the New York Yankees. The deal stipulates that News Corp. has the option to expand its Yes Network ownership to 80% after three years.

That’s a big get for News Corp., which owns all the Fox networks. The Yankees remain the crown jewel of baseball with their star-studded rosters, obscenely high payroll, large national following and clout within the most populous city in America. Yes is the most valuable regional sports network in the country, valued at roughly $3 billion.

That said, it is still a regional network, so its reach is limited. That’s probably why News Corp.’s purchase of the network isn’t doing much for the company’s stock price yet. News Corp. shares are up just a tick (+0.12%) in mid-day trading.

For the year, News Corp. shares have risen more than 31%. At $24.48 a share, the stock is just off its decade-high of $25.96, established back in September.

NWS shares are already trading at more than 22 times earnings, so there’s not a ton of room to run right now. But the company’s deal with Yes should only improve future earnings.

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