ESPN is expanding in local sports coverage after its parent company, Disney, acquired 22 regional sports networks in a massive deal with 21st Century Fox.
Fox will maintain control of its national television networks, including FS1, FS2 and Big Ten Network, but the RSNs now fall under ESPN's umbrella. Those networks hold the broadcast rights for 44 MLB, NBA and NHL teams.
The networks acquired include Yankees and Nets broadcaster YES, Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket in the Los Angeles market and other local broadcasters from coast to coast. They hold the rights to 17 NBA teams, 15 MLB teams and 12 NHL teams, in addition to MLS, WNBA and college sports.
The deal comes as ESPN plans to launch a new paid streaming service in May 2018, ESPN+. Adding the RSN portfolio to ESPN's regular offerings gives the network a bevy of potential local sports offerings on top of its national broadcasts to beef up the ESPN+ menu.