Mark Cuban has sold a majority stake in cable networks AXS TV and HDNet Movies to Anthem Sports & Entertainment, with Steve Harvey on board as a financial and creative partner.
Anthem will take over operational control of the channels. Cuban and AEG will continue to participate as equity partners, and AEG Global Partnerships, AEG’s advertising and sponsorship sales unit, will continue to support the channels in conjunction with Anthem’s sales team.
Along with a content development deal, Harvey’s company, Steve Harvey Global, will have a seat on the board of directors of Anthem. “My team and I see great opportunity in Anthem,” Harvey said. “They have incredible shows, experiential entertainment, and a huge reach. We look forward to collaborating with Anthem on content development that will surprise and delight this newly expanded audience.”
Anthem was founded in 2011 and operates a slew of linear and digital channels in the U.S. and Canada centered around wrestling, boxing, hunting and fishing and gaming.
“We are very excited to add these two successful channels to our portfolio,” said Leonard Asper, CEO, Anthem Sports & Entertainment. “Anthem was founded with a mission to deliver compelling, targeted content and experiences to passionate fans globally on the platform of their choice. The music, sports and entertainment communities served by these channels are a natural extension and perfect complement to our existing properties. The addition of AXS TV and HDNet Movies will allow for increased content ownership, digital expansion and even more compelling programming for consumers and our distribution partners.”
AXS TV and HDNet Movies will continue operating from their existing facilities in Denver and Los Angeles.
Cuban launched HDNet in 2001, a time when most linear TV networks were still airing in standard definition formats. The channel was re-launched in 2012 as AXS TV with the backing of AEG, Ryan Seacrest Media and CAA.
“Anthem’s combination of targeted brands, enthusiastic audiences, operational expertise, international footprint and vision makes them an ideal partner to take AXS TV and HDNet Movies to their next levels,” Cuban said. “Given Anthem’s portfolio of premium content and complementary programming networks, we could not ask for a better home, and we are looking forward to the results we will collectively generate for this new partnership.”
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