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Sinclair Broadcast renews ABC affiliations

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. has renewed and extended affiliation deals with ABC Television Network across all of Sinclair’s ABC stations through 2022, the companies said Wednesday.

The deal includes station affiliation agreements that had been scheduled to expire at the end of last year. Extensions also apply to ABC-affiliated stations that Sinclair does not own but provides sales and other services to under joint sales agreements. Those agreements cover nine TV markets that serve about 5.8 million households.

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The deal was reached as Sinclair is awaiting federal regulatory approval to acquire Tribune Media Co. for $3.9 billion. Sinclair and ABC agreed to extend Tribune’s ABC affiliation agreements in New Orleans, Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and Moline, Ill., all of which are contingent upon closing the Tribune deal. Tribune Media was formed in 2014 when Tribune Co. — then the parent of The Baltimore Sun — split its broadcasting and publishing divisions into separate companies. The broadcast division became Tribune Media while the publishing division, including The Sun, became Tribune Publishing, renamed tronc Inc. last year.

"The renewals reflect the value of the symbiotic relationship between ABC's programming and the local news and syndicated content we provide,” Barry Faber, Sinclair’s executive vice president for distribution and network relations, said in the announcement.

John Rouse, executive vice president of ABC affiliate relations, said the agreement “solidifies the distribution of leading entertainment and informational services to our mutual viewers and advertisers for many years to come."

Sinclair has 34 ABC affiliate stations in 30 markets, which reach 16 million households.

“We view this announcement as a positive, as it provides [Sinclair] long-term visibility over its expenses...as well as lock in renewals for affiliations it will acquire from the [Tribune] deal,” Marci Ryvicker, a senior analyst with Wells Fargo Securities, said in a report Wednesday .

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