Win it “for the culture!” That is exactly what Ice Cube said he plans to do with perhaps his biggest venture to date. Ice Cube is the co-founder of the Big 3, a professional three-on-three basketball league. Through his role with the Big 3, he could change the landscape of sports media. Ice Cube has assembled an all-star team to bid for and to create content for 21 of the regional sports networks (RSNs) that Walt Disney Company (Disney) is required to sale. If Ice Cube and his team are successful, a minority-owned sports media platform would be born. The birth of such a platform would be a major win for the culture.
Disney was Forced to Sale the RSNs
Last year, Disney came to terms in a deal to acquire 21st Century Fox (Fox). To finalize the deal, Disney was forced to sale 22 of Fox’s regional sports networks. Disney was forced to sale the RSNs so that they would not have a monopoly on sports media as Disney already owns ESPN. Enter Ice Cube and the Big 3. Last fall, Ice Cube and the Big 3 entered the bidding war for the networks. Ice Cube teamed up with LL Cool J, Magic Johson, Snoop Dogg, Serena Williams, Carolyn Rafaelian, and a host of others to buy and create content for 21 of the networks. The twenty-second network, the YES Network, is being sold separately.
Ice Cube’s Sports Media Company Would Be The First of It’s Kind
In a Twitter post regarding the bid, Ice Cube stated: “I’m trying to shatter the glass ceiling so we can all fly!!!”
If Ice Cube and his all-star cast are successful that is exactly what will happen. Glass ceilings will be shattered and the culture will surely fly. There will be minority-owned major sports networks centered around diverse stories told from diverse perspectives. The platform could tell stories that are often overlooked in mainstream media. The Big 3 and its partners want to create a sports network that provides fresh and interesting content. They want to target the younger generation. In fact, Serena Williams stated that she became involved because it is important to have diverse voices to deliver content to young people.
Having diverse voices is essential so that all sides of a story are given adequate consideration and publicity. Imagine a network where Colin Kaepernick is able to effectively convey the reasons he took a knee free from purposeful mischaracterizations. Imagine a network where the unavoidable intersection between sports and politics is celebrated and not deemed a distraction. A minority-owned sports network that allows such programming is needed and would be a major win for the culture.
Creating Such a Platform is no Easy Feat
Ice Cube has put together an impressive team in his bid for the RSNs. However, the bid has still been met with obstacles. Specifically, Ice Cube and the Big 3 have had an issue with Charter Communications (Charter). They allege that Charter has attempted to thwart the Big 3’s bid for the RSNs. As a result, the Big 3 has asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to investigate the sale.
In addition to Big 3’s issue with Charter, the still fairly new basketball startup is up against some major players in this bidding war. It is reported that Sinclair Broadcasting may be the top bidder. Even with all of the obstacles, Ice Cube and his team are still trying to acquire the RSNs. It remains to be seen whether they will be successful. One thing is for sure. The simple fact that Ice Cube and Big 3 are even viable contenders for the networks is a big deal and if they do acquire the RSNs it will be a major win for the culture.