Magic Johnson Joins Ice Cube’s Underdog Bid To Acquire Sports Networks From Disney

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Written by Dana Sanchez
Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson speaks to reporters prior to an NBA basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Los Angeles. Johnson abruptly quit as the Lakers’ president of basketball operations Tuesday night, citing his desire to return to the simpler life he enjoyed as a wealthy businessman and beloved former player before taking charge of the franchise just over two years ago. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, who just stepped down as president of the Los Angeles Lakers, is joining a bid to acquire 21 regional sports networks from Walt Disney Co., Ice Cube said Wednesday in a tweet.

Hip hop-artist-entrepreneur Ice Cube wants to buy the regional sports networks through his Big3 three-on-three basketball league and plans to air content from athletes and celebrities including Serena Williams and Snoop Dogg. Will Smith has also joined the project, LA Times reported.

Ice Cube, whose league is broadcast on FS1 and Fox, has been searching for investors to join him in his bid. “He has reportedly approached media giant Viacom about his plans, and while they’ve politely declined to invest money, they did offer to help with programming if his bid is successful,” Uproxx reported.

It’s uncertain if Johnson will provide financial support, but he has more time on his hands since resigning from the Lakers, saying he wanted a more normal and enjoyable lifestyle. Fans were disappointed.

Big3 has significant financial backing and hopes to create a new national network aimed at a younger, more diverse audience than traditional sports channels. LL Cool J, who runs Big3 with Ice Cube, said the vision is to give Gen Zs and millennials a platform to engage in sports with a full network of culturally diverse programming that looks like America and has the voice of where the world is going.

“It’s time to win it for the culture,” Ice Cube tweeted earlier this week.


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Other companies vying for Disney’s Fox Regional Sports Network assets include John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp. (owner of the Atlanta Braves) and Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.

Big3 wrote a letter to the FCC accusing Charter Communications of trying to undermine the sale and depress prices to support its largest shareholder — Liberty Media.

Final-round bidders include Big3, Liberty Media and Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., LA Times reported. Liberty is teaming up with major league baseball on its proposal.

Offers are in the neighborhood of $10 billion.