TORONTO & DALLAS—Sports magnate Mark Cuban, who made his fortune in the early days of the internet with broadcast.com has sold his HDNet empire to Anthem Sports & Entertainment, a global M&E company that provides music, entertainment and lifestyle channels as well as live concerts and sports events. Talk show and entrepreneur Steve Harvey is also being brought in as an investor.
“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.”
Cuban founded HDNET in 2001 as one of the first sources of HDTV programming, with HDNet Movies spun off in 2003. In 2012, HDNET was rebranded “AXS TV” when Cuban initially partnered with AEG. AXS TV—whose lineup consists mainly of live concerts and events, music-themed information and programming and live wrestling—is distributed to more than 50 million homes in 120 countries. HDNet Movies is available in approximately 12 million U.S. homes.
The new deal is estimated to expand the reach of Anthem’s channels to nearly 150 million global TV households, including more than 110 million pay-TV households in the U.S. and Canada.
While AEG takes over the operating management of the two channels, Cuban will continue to participate as an equity partner. Harvey is being brought in to promote and create content for AEG. AXS TV and HDNet Movies will continue operating from their existing facilities in Denver and Los Angeles, and the combined company will include Anthem’s playout and production center in Toronto and production facilities in Nashville and Europe.