The New Jersey Devils have agreed to give a new lease of life to the team’s broadcast network, which had been struggling under the burden of a dwindling audience.
The team announced Thursday that it will move forward with a two-year agreement with Sinclair Broadcast Group, the owners of the New York Mets, the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots, which bought the network in 2016.
The deal is worth an estimated $3.2 billion, according to the terms of the agreement.
The move comes a year after Sinclair, based in Columbus, Ohio, acquired a 51% stake in the team, which now has an estimated 13 million viewers.
The network, a subsidiary of Tribune Media, is a joint venture between Sinclair and the city of New York, which will now receive a share of the team and other assets, including its arena.
“I think it’s a testament to the success of the sports franchises and the value that sports brands provide to the city, the state and country, and the fact that this has been a long-term investment,” said Dan Bynum, president and CEO of Sinclair Broadcast.
“The network has grown beyond our wildest dreams, and we are thrilled to help deliver its future success.”
The deal includes a new television network, ESPN2, and a sports channel, ESPN New York.
It will be broadcast on ESPN, the sports network owned by Disney.
The team is also considering a partnership with Fox Sports.
“We are very excited to expand our reach to more fans in the state of New Jersey and across the country,” Bynunum said in a statement.
“Sinclair is one of the most successful and recognizable brands in sports, and our relationship with them is an extension of that commitment.
The New York Yankees, the team that we are all very proud of, will have a special place in our hearts, and ESPN2 will continue to be the home of the sport’s premier brand.”
Sinclair, a cable television operator, was founded in 1967 and owns more than 70 cable channels and more than 100 radio stations across the United States.
Its operations include Fox Sports, which broadcasts Major League Baseball games on Fox Sports 1, and Fox Sports Go, which allows fans to stream content from other channels.