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Table of Contents
UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
 
FORM 10-Q

(Mark One) 
QUARTERLY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 For the quarterly period ended March 31, 2021
 
OR
 
         TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 For the transition period from                      to                       .
 
COMMISSION FILE NUMBER: 000-26076
 
SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP, INC.
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
 
Maryland 52-1494660
(State or other jurisdiction of Incorporation or organization)(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
 
10706 Beaver Dam Road
Hunt Valley, Maryland 21030
(Address of principal executive office, zip code)
 
(410) 568-1500
(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)
 
None
(Former name, former address and former fiscal year, if changed since last report)
 
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each classTrading SymbolName of each exchange on which registered
Class A Common Stock, par value $ 0.01 per shareSBGIThe NASDAQ Stock Market LLC

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such file).
Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company.  See definitions of "large accelerated filer", "accelerated filer" and "smaller reporting company," and "emerging growth company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. 
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filerNon-accelerated filerSmaller reporting companyEmerging growth company
  
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
Yes No

Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the issuer’s classes of common stock as of the latest practicable date.
    
 Number of shares outstanding as of
Title of each class May 6, 2021
Class A Common Stock 51,554,363
Class B Common Stock 23,775,056


Table of Contents
SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP, INC.
 
FORM 10-Q
FOR THE QUARTER ENDED MARCH 31, 2021
 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

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PART I. FINANCIAL INFORMATION

ITEM 1.  FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
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SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP, INC.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(in millions, except share and per share data) (Unaudited) 
 As of March 31,
2021
As of December 31,
2020
ASSETS  
Current assets:  
Cash and cash equivalents$941 $1,259 
Accounts receivable, net of allowance for doubtful accounts of $4 and $5, respectively
1,058 1,060 
Income taxes receivable235 230 
Prepaid sports rights542 498 
Prepaid expenses and other current assets194 170 
Total current assets2,970 3,217 
Property and equipment, net804 823 
Operating lease assets189 197 
Deferred tax assets202 197 
Restricted cash4 3 
Goodwill2,091 2,092 
Indefinite-lived intangible assets150 171 
Customer relationships, net4,189 4,286 
Other definite-lived intangible assets, net1,311 1,338 
Other assets1,222 1,058 
Total assets (a)$13,132 $13,382 
LIABILITIES, REDEEMABLE NON-CONTROLLING INTERESTS, AND EQUITY  
Current liabilities:  
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities$469 $533 
Current portion of notes payable, finance leases, and commercial bank financing58 58 
Current portion of operating lease liabilities30 34 
Current portion of program contracts payable77 92 
Other current liabilities288 317 
Total current liabilities922 1,034 
Notes payable, finance leases, and commercial bank financing, less current portion12,482 12,493 
Operating lease liabilities, less current portion194 198 
Program contracts payable, less current portion26 30 
Other long-term liabilities506 622 
Total liabilities (a)14,130 14,377 
Commitments and contingencies (See Note 6)
Redeemable noncontrolling interests188 190 
Shareholders' equity:  
Class A Common Stock, $.01 par value, 500,000,000 shares authorized, 51,118,350 and 49,252,671 shares issued and outstanding, respectively
1 1 
Class B Common Stock, $.01 par value, 140,000,000 shares authorized, 24,217,682 and 24,727,682 shares issued and outstanding, respectively, convertible into Class A Common Stock
  
Additional paid-in capital735 721 
Accumulated deficit(2,013)(1,986)
Accumulated other comprehensive loss(2)(10)
Total Sinclair Broadcast Group shareholders’ deficit(1,279)(1,274)
Noncontrolling interests93 89 
Total deficit(1,186)(1,185)
Total liabilities, redeemable noncontrolling interests, and deficit$13,132 $13,382 
 
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these unaudited consolidated financial statements. 
(a)     Our consolidated total assets as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020 include total assets of variable interest entities (VIEs) of $241 million and $233 million, respectively, which can only be used to settle the obligations of the VIEs. Our consolidated total liabilities as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020 include total liabilities of VIEs of $57 million and $60 million, respectively, for which the creditors of the VIEs have no recourse to us. See Note 9. Variable Interest Entities.
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SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
(in millions, except share and per share data) (Unaudited) 
 Three Months Ended 
 March 31,
 20212020
REVENUES:  
Media revenues$1,497 $1,574 
Non-media revenues14 35 
Total revenues1,511 1,609 
OPERATING EXPENSES:  
Media programming and production expenses1,023 828 
Media selling, general and administrative expenses213 210 
Amortization of program contract costs23 23 
Non-media expenses17 30 
Depreciation of property and equipment28 24 
Corporate general and administrative expenses61 49 
Amortization of definite-lived intangible and other assets125 150 
Gain on asset dispositions and other, net of impairment(14)(32)
Total operating expenses1,476 1,282 
Operating income35 327 
OTHER INCOME (EXPENSE):  
Interest expense including amortization of debt discount and deferred financing costs(151)(180)
Gain on extinguishment of debt 2 
Income (loss) from equity method investments9 (6)
Other income (expense), net124 (4)
Total other expense, net(18)(188)
Income before income taxes17 139 
INCOME TAX BENEFIT9 12 
NET INCOME26 151 
Net income attributable to the redeemable noncontrolling interests(4)(20)
Net income attributable to the noncontrolling interests(34)(8)
NET (LOSS) INCOME ATTRIBUTABLE TO SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP$(12)$123 
EARNINGS PER COMMON SHARE ATTRIBUTABLE TO SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP:  
Basic (loss) earnings per share$(0.16)$1.36 
Diluted (loss) earnings per share$(0.16)$1.35 
Basic weighted average common shares outstanding (in thousands)74,389 90,609 
Diluted weighted average common and common equivalent shares outstanding (in thousands)74,389 91,226 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these unaudited consolidated financial statements.

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SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
(in millions) (Unaudited)
 Three Months Ended 
 March 31,
 20212020
Net income$26 $151 
Share of other comprehensive income of equity method investments8  
Comprehensive income34 151 
Comprehensive income attributable to the redeemable noncontrolling interests(4)(20)
Comprehensive income attributable to the noncontrolling interests(34)(8)
Comprehensive (loss) income attributable to Sinclair Broadcast Group$(4)$123 
 
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these unaudited consolidated financial statements.

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SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EQUITY (DEFICIT) AND REDEEMABLE NONCONTROLLING INTERESTS
(in millions, except share and per share data) (Unaudited)
Three Months Ended March 31, 2020
 Sinclair Broadcast Group Shareholders  
 Redeemable Noncontrolling InterestsClass A
Common Stock
Class B
Common Stock
Additional
Paid-In
Capital
Retained EarningsAccumulated
Other
Comprehensive
Loss
Noncontrolling
Interests
Total Equity
 SharesValuesSharesValues
BALANCE, December 31, 2019$1,078 66,830,110 $1 24,727,682 $ $1,011 $492 $(2)$192 $1,694 
Dividends declared and paid on Class A and Class B Common Stock ($0.20 per share)
— — — — — — (19)— — (19)
Repurchases of Class A Common Stock— (9,957,297)— — — (176)— — — (176)
Class A Common Stock issued pursuant to employee benefit plans— 1,479,684 — — — 29 — — — 29 
Distributions to noncontrolling interests, net— — — — — — — — (3)(3)
Distributions to redeemable noncontrolling interests(378)— — — — — — — — — 
Redemption of redeemable subsidiary preferred equity, net of fees(198)— — — — — — — — — 
Net income20 — — — — — 123 — 8 131 
BALANCE, March 31, 2020$522 58,352,497 $1 24,727,682 $ $864 $596 $(2)$197 $1,656 
 The accompanying notes are an integral part of these unaudited consolidated financial statements.

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SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EQUITY (DEFICIT) AND REDEEMABLE NONCONTROLLING INTERESTS
(in millions, except share and per share data) (Unaudited)
Three Months Ended March 31, 2021
 Sinclair Broadcast Group Shareholders  
 Redeemable Noncontrolling InterestsClass A
Common Stock
Class B
Common Stock
Additional
Paid-In
Capital
Accumulated DeficitAccumulated
Other
Comprehensive
Loss
Noncontrolling
Interests
Total Deficit
 SharesValuesSharesValues
BALANCE, December 31, 2020$190 49,252,671 $1 24,727,682 $ $721 $(1,986)$(10)$89 $(1,185)
Dividends declared and paid on Class A and Class B Common Stock ($0.20 per share)
— — — — — — (15)— — (15)
Class B Common Stock converted into Class A Common Stock— 510,000 — (510,000)— — — — —  
Class A Common Stock issued pursuant to employee benefit plans— 1,355,679 — — — 14 — — — 14 
Distributions to noncontrolling interests(6)— — — — — — — (30)(30)
Other comprehensive income— — — — — — — 8 — 8 
Net income (loss)4 — — — — — (12)— 34 22 
BALANCE, March 31, 2021$188 51,118,350 $1 24,217,682 $ $735 $(2,013)$(2)$93 $(1,186)
 
The accompanying notes are an integral part of these unaudited consolidated financial statements.
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SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
(in millions) (Unaudited)
 Three Months Ended March 31,
 20212020
CASH FLOWS USED IN OPERATING ACTIVITIES:  
Net income$26 $151 
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash flows used in operating activities:  
Amortization of sports programming rights552 391 
Amortization of definite-lived intangible and other assets125 150 
Depreciation of property and equipment28 24 
Amortization of program contract costs23 23 
Stock-based compensation33 17 
Deferred tax benefit(3)22 
Gain on asset dispositions and other, net of impairment(14)(32)
(Income) loss from equity method investments(9)6 
(Gain) loss from investments(123)2 
Distributions from investments14 24 
Sports programming rights payments(607)(612)
Rebate payments to distributors(133) 
Gain on extinguishment of debt (2)
Change in assets and liabilities, net of acquisitions:  
Decrease in accounts receivable6 34 
(Increase) decrease in prepaid expenses and other current assets(37)44 
Decrease in accounts payable and accrued and other current liabilities(72)(240)
Net change in net income taxes payable/receivable(4)(34)
Decrease in program contracts payable(25)(23)
Other, net14 16 
Net cash flows used in operating activities(206)(39)
CASH FLOWS USED IN INVESTING ACTIVITIES:  
Acquisition of property and equipment(20)(46)
Acquisition of businesses, net of cash acquired(2) 
Spectrum repack reimbursements14 24 
Proceeds from sale of assets28 18 
Purchases of investments(49)(25)
Other, net3 6 
Net cash flows used in investing activities(26)(23)
CASH FLOWS (USED IN) FROM FINANCING ACTIVITIES:  
Proceeds from notes payable and commercial bank financing6 873 
Repayments of notes payable, commercial bank financing and finance leases(26)(20)
Repurchase of outstanding Class A Common Stock (176)
Dividends paid on Class A and Class B Common Stock(15)(18)
Dividends paid on redeemable subsidiary preferred equity(4) 
Redemption of redeemable subsidiary preferred equity (198)
Distributions to noncontrolling interests, net(30)(3)
Distributions to redeemable noncontrolling interests(2)(378)
Other, net(14)(9)
Net cash flows (used in) from financing activities(85)71 
NET (DECREASE) INCREASE IN CASH, CASH EQUIVALENTS, AND RESTRICTED CASH(317)9 
CASH, CASH EQUIVALENTS, AND RESTRICTED CASH, beginning of period1,262 1,333 
CASH, CASH EQUIVALENTS, AND RESTRICTED CASH, end of period$945 $1,342 

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these unaudited consolidated financial statements.
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SINCLAIR BROADCAST GROUP, INC.
NOTES TO UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS
 
1.              NATURE OF OPERATIONS AND SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES:
 
Nature of Operations

Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (the Company) is a diversified television media company with national reach and a strong focus on providing high-quality content on our local television stations, regional sports networks, and digital platforms. The content, distributed through our broadcast platform and third-party platforms, consists of programming provided by third-party networks and syndicators, local news, college and professional sports, and other original programming produced by us. Additionally, we own digital media products that are complementary to our extensive portfolio of television station related digital properties. Outside of our media related businesses, we operate technical services companies focused on supply and maintenance of broadcast transmission systems as well as research and development for the advancement of broadcast technology, and we manage other non-media related investments.

As of March 31, 2021, we had two reportable segments for accounting purposes, broadcast and local sports. The broadcast segment consists primarily of our 186 broadcast television stations in 87 markets, which we own, provide programming and operating services pursuant to agreements commonly referred to as local marketing agreements (LMAs), or provide sales services and other non-programming operating services pursuant to other outsourcing agreements (such as joint sales agreements (JSAs) and shared services agreements (SSAs)). These stations broadcast 628 channels as of March 31, 2021. For the purpose of this report, these 186 stations and 628 channels are referred to as "our" stations and channels. The local sports segment consists primarily of our Bally Sports network brands (the Bally RSNs), the Marquee Sports Network (Marquee) joint venture and a minority equity interest in the Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network, LLC (YES Network). We refer to the Bally RSNs and Marquee as "the RSNs". The RSNs and YES Network own the exclusive rights to air, among other sporting events, the games of professional sports teams in designated local viewing areas.

Principles of Consolidation
 
The consolidated financial statements include our accounts and those of our wholly-owned and majority-owned subsidiaries, and VIEs for which we are the primary beneficiary. Noncontrolling interests represent a minority owner’s proportionate share of the equity in certain of our consolidated entities. Noncontrolling interests which may be redeemed by the holder, and the redemption is outside of our control, are presented as redeemable noncontrolling interests. All intercompany transactions and account balances have been eliminated in consolidation.

We consolidate VIEs when we are the primary beneficiary. We are the primary beneficiary of a VIE when we have the power to direct the activities of the VIE that most significantly impact the economic performance of the VIE and have the obligation to absorb losses or the right to receive returns that would be significant to the VIE. See Note 9. Variable Interest Entities for more information on our VIEs.

Investments in entities over which we have significant influence but not control are accounted for using the equity method of accounting. Income from equity method investments represents our proportionate share of net income generated by equity method investees.

Interim Financial Statements
 
The consolidated financial statements for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020 are unaudited. In the opinion of management, such financial statements have been presented on the same basis as the audited consolidated financial statements and include all adjustments, consisting only of normal recurring adjustments necessary for a fair statement of the consolidated balance sheets, consolidated statements of operations, consolidated statements of comprehensive income, consolidated statements of equity (deficit) and redeemable noncontrolling interests, and consolidated statements of cash flows for these periods as adjusted for the adoption of recent accounting pronouncements discussed below.
 
As permitted under the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the consolidated financial statements do not include all disclosures normally included with audited consolidated financial statements and, accordingly, should be read together with the audited consolidated financial statements and notes thereto in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020 filed with the SEC. The consolidated statements of operations presented in the accompanying consolidated financial statements are not necessarily representative of operations for an entire year.

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Use of Estimates

The preparation of financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues, and expenses in the consolidated financial statements and in the disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities. Actual results could differ from those estimates.

The impact of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to create significant uncertainty and disruption in the global economy and financial markets. It is reasonably possible that these uncertainties could further materially impact our estimates related to, but not limited to, revenue recognition, goodwill and intangible assets, program contract costs, sports programming rights, and income taxes. As a result, many of our estimates and assumptions require increased judgment and carry a higher degree of variability and volatility. Our estimates may change as new events occur and additional information emerges, and such changes are recognized or disclosed in our consolidated financial statements.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

In March 2020, the FASB issued guidance providing optional expedients and exceptions for applying GAAP to contracts, hedging relationships, and other transactions affected by the discontinuation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) or by another reference rate expected to be discontinued. The guidance was effective for all entities immediately upon issuance of the update and may be applied prospectively to applicable transactions existing as of or entered into from the date of adoption through December 31, 2022. We are currently evaluating the impact of this guidance, if elected, but do not expect a material impact on our consolidated financial statements.

Broadcast Television Programming

We have agreements with multi-channel video programming distributors (MVPDs) and virtual MVPDs (vMVPDs, and together with MVPDs, "Distributors") for the rights to television programming over contract periods, which generally run from one to seven years. Contract payments are made in installments over terms that are generally equal to or shorter than the contract period. Pursuant to accounting guidance for the broadcasting industry, an asset and a liability for the rights acquired and obligations incurred under a license agreement are reported on the balance sheet when the cost of each program is known or reasonably determinable, the program material has been accepted by the licensee in accordance with the conditions of the license agreement, and the program is available for its first showing or telecast. The portion of program contracts which becomes payable within one year is reflected as a current liability in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets
The rights to this programming are reflected in the accompanying consolidated balance sheets at the lower of unamortized cost or fair value. Program contract costs are amortized on a straight-line basis except for contracts greater than three years which are amortized utilizing an accelerated method. Program contract costs estimated by management to be amortized in the succeeding year are classified as current assets. Payments of program contract liabilities are typically made on a scheduled basis and are not affected by amortization or fair value adjustments.

Fair value is determined utilizing a discounted cash flow model based on management’s expectation of future advertising revenues, net of sales commissions, to be generated by the program material. We assess our program contract costs on a quarterly basis to ensure the costs are recorded at the lower of unamortized cost or fair value.

Sports Programming Rights

We have multi-year program rights agreements that provide the Company with the right to produce and telecast professional live sports games within a specified territory in exchange for a rights fee. A prepaid asset is recorded for rights acquired related to future games upon payment of the contracted fee. The assets recorded for the acquired rights are classified as current or non-current based on the period when the games are expected to be aired. Liabilities are recorded for any program rights obligations that have been incurred but not yet paid at period end. We amortize these programming rights as an expense over each season based upon contractually stated rates. Amortization is accelerated in the event that the stated contractual rates over the term of the rights agreement results in an expense recognition pattern that is inconsistent with the projected growth of revenue over the contractual term.

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During the three months ended March 31, 2020, the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Hockey League (NHL), and Major League Baseball (MLB) suspended or delayed the start of their seasons as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On that date, the Company suspended the recognition of amortization expense associated with prepaid program rights agreements with teams within these leagues. Amortization expense resumed for the NBA, NHL, and MLB over the modified seasons when the games commenced during the third quarter of 2020. The NBA and NHL also delayed the start of their 2020-2021 seasons until December 22, 2020 and January 13, 2021, respectively; sports rights expense associated with these seasons will be recognized over the modified term of these seasons.

Certain rights agreements with professional teams contain provisions which require the rebate of rights fees paid by the Company if a contractual minimum number of live games are not delivered. As of March 31, 2021, we have estimated rebates due from teams of $42 million which we expect to receive in the second quarter of 2021. The actual amount of rebates to be received will vary depending on changes in the final game counts of each leagues' respective season. Rights fees paid in advance of expense recognition, inclusive of any contractual rebates due to the Company, are included within prepaid sports rights in our consolidated balance sheets.

Non-cash Investing and Financing Activities

Non-cash transactions related to finance lease obligations were $6 million during the three months ended March 31, 2020. Leased assets obtained in exchange for new operating lease liabilities were $3 million and $8 million during the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively.

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Revenue Recognition

The following table presents our revenue disaggregated by type and segment (in millions):
For the three months ended March 31, 2021BroadcastLocal sportsOtherEliminationsTotal
Distribution revenue$361 $698 $50 $ $1,109 
Advertising revenue267 65 40 (1)371 
Other media, non-media, and intercompany revenues37 5 18 (29)31 
Total revenues$665 $768 $108 $(30)$1,511 
For the three months ended March 31, 2020BroadcastLocal sportsOtherEliminationsTotal
Distribution revenue$355 $752 $49 $ $1,156 
Advertising revenue310 55 35  400 
Other media, non-media, and intercompany revenues36 5 44 (32)53 
Total revenues$701 $812 $128 $(32)$1,609 

Distribution Revenue. We generate distribution revenue through fees received from Distributors for the right to distribute our stations, RSNs, and other properties. Distribution arrangements are generally governed by multi-year contracts and the underlying fees are based upon a contractual monthly rate per subscriber. These arrangements represent licenses of intellectual property; revenue is recognized as the signal or network programming is provided to our customers (as usage occurs) which corresponds with the satisfaction of our performance obligation. Revenue is calculated based upon the contractual rate multiplied by an estimated number of subscribers. Our customers will remit payments based upon actual subscribers a short time after the conclusion of a month, which generally does not exceed 120 days. Historical adjustments to subscriber estimates have not been material.

Certain of our distribution arrangements contain provisions that require the Company to deliver a minimum number of live professional sports games or tournaments during a defined period which usually corresponds with a calendar year. If the minimum threshold is not met, we may be obligated to refund a portion of the distribution fees received if shortfalls are not cured within a specified period of time. Our ability to meet these requirements is primarily driven by the delivery of games by the professional sports leagues. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company had not historically paid any material rebates under these contractual provisions as it is unusual for there to be an event which is significant enough to preclude the Company from meeting or exceeding these thresholds. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in significant disruptions to the normal operations of the professional sports leagues resulting in delays and uncertainty with respect to regularly scheduled games. Decisions made by the leagues during the second quarter of 2020 regarding the timing and format of the revised 2020 season and decisions made by the NHL and NBA during the fourth quarter of 2020 and first quarter of 2021 regarding the timing and format of their revised 2020-2021 seasons have resulted, in some cases, in our inability to meet these minimum game requirements and the need to reduce revenue based upon estimated rebates due to our distribution customers. Accrued rebates as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020 were $268 million and $420 million, respectively. The decrease in accrued rebates during the three-month period ending March 31, 2021 includes $133 million of payments and $19 million of adjustments related primarily to increases in estimated game counts. As of March 31, 2021, $183 million is reflected in other current liabilities and $85 million is reflected in other long-term liabilities in our consolidated balance sheets. We expect these rebates to be paid during 2021 and 2022. There were no rebates accrued during the three-month period ending March 31, 2021. See Subsequent Events within Note 1. Nature of Operations and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies.

Advertising Revenue. We generate advertising revenue primarily from the sale of advertising spots/impressions within our broadcast television, RSN, and digital platforms.

In accordance with ASC 606, we do not disclose the value of unsatisfied performance obligations for (i) contracts with an original expected length of one year or less and (ii) distribution arrangements which are accounted for as a sales/usage based royalty.

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Deferred Revenue. We record deferred revenue when cash payments are received or due in advance of our performance, including amounts which are refundable. We classify deferred revenue as either current in other current liabilities or long-term in other long-term liabilities in our consolidated balance sheets based on the timing of when we expect to satisfy our performance obligations. Deferred revenue was $233 million as of both March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, of which $179 million and $184 million, respectively, was reflected in other long-term liabilities in our consolidated balance sheets. Deferred revenue recognized during the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, included in the deferred revenue balance as of December 31, 2020 and 2019, was $17 million and $30 million, respectively.

On November 18, 2020, the Company and Diamond Sports Group, LLC (DSG) entered into an enterprise-wide commercial agreement with Bally's Corporation (Bally's), including providing certain branding integrations in our RSNs, broadcast networks and other properties. These branding integrations include naming rights associated with the majority of our RSNs (other than Marquee). The initial term of this arrangement is 10 years and we expect to begin performing under this arrangement in 2021. The Company received non-cash consideration initially valued at $199 million which is reflected as a contract liability and will be recognized as revenue as the performance obligations under the arrangement are satisfied. No revenue was recognized under this arrangement during the three months ended March 31, 2021. See Note 3. Other Assets for more information.

For the three months ended March 31, 2021, three customers accounted for 20%, 19%, and 15%, respectively, of our total revenues. For the three months ended March 31, 2020, three customers accounted for 20%, 17%, and 12%, respectively, of our total revenues. As of March 31, 2021, three customers accounted for 20%, 17%, and 15%, respectively, of our accounts receivable, net. For purposes of this disclosure, a single customer may include multiple entities under common control.

Income Taxes

Our income tax provision for all periods consists of federal and state income taxes. The tax provision for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020 is based on the estimated effective tax rate applicable for the full year after taking into account discrete tax items and the effects of the noncontrolling interests. We provide a valuation allowance for deferred tax assets if we determine that it is more likely than not that some or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. In evaluating our ability to realize net deferred tax assets, we consider all available evidence, both positive and negative, including our past operating results, tax planning strategies, current and cumulative losses, and forecasts of future taxable income. In considering these sources of taxable income, we must make certain judgments that are based on the plans and estimates used to manage our underlying businesses on a long-term basis. A valuation allowance has been provided for deferred tax assets related to certain temporary basis differences, interest expense carryforwards under the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 163(j) and a substantial amount of our available state net operating loss carryforwards based on past operating results, expected timing of the reversals of existing temporary basis differences, alternative tax strategies and projected future taxable income.

Our effective income tax rate for the three months ended March 31, 2021 was less than the statutory rate primarily due to substantially magnified impact of discrete items as a result of small pre-tax income. Our effective income tax rate for the three months ended March 31, 2020 was less than the statutory rate primarily due to $27 million of federal tax credits related to investments in sustainability initiatives and a $13 million discrete benefit as a result of the CARES Act allowing for the 2020 federal net operating loss to be carried back to pre-2018 years when the federal tax rate was 35%.

We do not believe that our liability for unrecognized tax benefits would be materially impacted in the next twelve months, as a result of expected statute of limitations expirations, the application of limits under available state administrative practice exceptions, and the resolution of examination issues and settlements with federal and certain state tax authorities.

Share Repurchase Program

On August 4, 2020, the Board of Directors authorized an additional $500 million share repurchase authorization in addition to the previous repurchase authorization of $1 billion. There is no expiration date and currently, management has no plans to terminate this program. As of March 31, 2021, the total remaining purchase authorization was $880 million.

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Subsequent Events    

In May 2021, our Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.20 per share, payable on June 15, 2021 to holders of record at the close of business on June 1, 2021.

Other than those noted in Note 3. Other Assets and Note 4. Notes Payable, Finance Leases, and Commercial Bank Financing, no other subsequent events were noted.

The Company is closely monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all aspects of its business, including how it has already impacted, and will impact, its advertisers, Distributors, and agreements with professional sports leagues. While the NBA, NHL, and MLB were able to complete modified season schedules during 2020, there can be no assurance that the MLB, NBA, or NHL will complete full or abbreviated seasons in the future. The NBA and NHL delayed the start of their 2020-2021 seasons until December 22, 2020 and January 13, 2021, respectively, however both under reduced game counts. The MLB began their season on time in April 2021 under a full game schedule. The NBA and NHL have not announced their 2021-2022 season schedules yet. Any reduction in the number of games played by the leagues may have an adverse impact on our operations and cash flows. The Company is currently unable to predict the full extent that the COVID-19 pandemic will have on its financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows in future periods due to numerous uncertainties.

Reclassifications
 
Certain reclassifications have been made to prior years' consolidated financial statements to conform to the current year's presentation.

2.              ACQUISITIONS AND DISPOSITIONS OF ASSETS:

Acquisitions. In February 2021, we acquired ZypMedia for approximately $7 million in cash. The acquired assets and liabilities were recorded at fair value as of the closing date of the transaction.

Dispositions. In February 2021, we sold two of our television broadcast stations, WDKA-TV in Paducah, KY, and KBSI-TV in Cape Girardeau, MO, for an aggregate purchase price of $28 million. We recorded a gain of $12 million which is included within gain on asset dispositions and other, net of impairment in our consolidated statements of operations.

Broadcast Incentive Auction. In 2012, Congress authorized the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct so-called "incentive auctions" to auction and re-purpose broadcast television spectrum for mobile broadband use. Pursuant to the auction, television broadcasters submitted bids to receive compensation for relinquishing all or a portion of their rights in the television spectrum of their full-service and Class A stations. Low power stations were not eligible to participate in the auction and are not protected and therefore may be displaced or forced to go off the air as a result of the post-auction repacking process.

In March 2016, the FCC began the repacking process associated with the auction, in which the FCC reassigned some stations to new post-auction channels. We do not expect reassignment to new channels to have a material impact on our coverage. We have received notification from the FCC that 100 of our stations have been assigned to new channels. Legislation has provided the FCC with a $3 billion fund to reimburse reasonable costs incurred by stations that are reassigned to new channels in the repack. We expect that the reimbursements from the fund will cover the majority of our expenses related to the repack. We recorded gains related to reimbursements for spectrum repack costs incurred of $14 million and $24 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively, which are included within gain on asset dispositions and other, net of impairment in our consolidated statements of operations. Capital expenditures related to the spectrum repack were $4 million and $21 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, respectively.

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3.              OTHER ASSETS:

Other assets as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020 consisted of the following (in millions):

 As of March 31,
2021
As of December 31,
2020
Equity method investments$492 $451 
Other investments575 450 
Post-retirement plan assets48 44 
Other107 113 
Total other assets$1,222 $1,058 

Equity Method Investments
We have a portfolio of investments, including our investment in the YES Network and entities that are primarily focused on the development of real estate, sustainability initiatives, and other non-media businesses. For the periods ended March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, none of our investments were individually significant.

YES Network Investment. We account for our investment in the YES Network as an equity method investment, which is recorded within other assets in our consolidated balance sheets, and in which our proportionate share of the net income generated by the investment is included within income (loss) from equity method investments in our consolidated statements of operations. During the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020, we recorded income of $13 million and $5 million, respectively, related to our investment.

Other Investments

We measure our investments, excluding equity method investments, at fair value or, in situations where fair value is not readily determinable, we have the option to value investments at cost plus observable changes in value, less impairment.

As of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, we held $88 million and $68 million, respectively, in equity securities which are classified as level 1 securities in the fair value hierarchy. During the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020 we recognized fair value adjustment gains of $20 million and losses of $1 million, respectively, associated with these securities, which are reflected in other income, net in our consolidated statements of operations. Investments accounted for utilizing the measurement alternative were $22 million, net of $7 million of cumulative impairments, as of March 31, 2021, and $26 million, net of $7 million of cumulative impairments, as of December 31, 2020. There were no adjustments to the carrying amount of investments accounted for utilizing the measurement alternative for the three months ended March 31, 2021 or 2020.

On November 18, 2020, we entered into a commercial agreement with Bally's. As part of this agreement, we received warrants to acquire up to 8.2 million shares of Bally's common stock for a penny per share, of which 3.3 million are exercisable upon meeting certain performance metrics. We also received options to purchase up to 1.6 million shares of Bally's common stock with exercise prices between $30 and $45 per share, exercisable after four years. These investments are reflected at fair value within our financial statements. For the three months ended March 31, 2021 we recorded an increase in value of $103 million which is reflected in other income, net in our consolidated statements of operations. The value of these investments was $435 million and $332 million as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively. See Note 11. Fair Value Measurements for further discussion.

In April 2021, we made an incremental investment of $93 million in Bally's in the form of non-voting perpetual warrants. These warrants are convertible into 1.7 million shares of Bally's common stock at an exercise price of $0.01 per share, subject to certain adjustments.
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4.              NOTES PAYABLE, FINANCE LEASES, AND COMMERCIAL BANK FINANCING:

Bank Credit Agreements

Each of the bank credit agreements of Sinclair Television Group, Inc. (STG), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company, and DSG (collectively, the Bank Credit Agreements) include a financial maintenance covenant, the first lien leverage ratio (as defined in the respective Bank Credit Agreements), which requires such applicable ratio not to exceed 4.5x and 6.25x, measured as of the end of each fiscal quarter, for STG and DSG, respectively. The respective financial maintenance covenant is only applicable if 35% or more of the capacity (as a percentage of total commitments) under the respective revolving credit facility, measured as of the last day of each quarter, is utilized under such revolving credit facility as of such date. Since there was no utilization under either of the revolving credit facilities as of March 31, 2021, neither STG nor DSG was subject to the respective financial maintenance covenant under their applicable Bank Credit Agreement. As of March 31, 2021, the STG first lien leverage ratio was below 4.5x and the DSG first lien leverage ratio exceeded 6.25x. We expect that the DSG first lien leverage ratio will remain above 6.25x for at least the next 12 months, which will restrict our ability to utilize the full DSG revolving credit facility. We do not currently expect to have more than 35% of the capacity of the DSG revolving credit facility outstanding as of any quarterly measurement date during the next twelve months, therefore we do not expect DSG will be subject to the financial maintenance covenant. The Bank Credit Agreements contain other restrictions and covenants with which the respective entities were in compliance as of March 31, 2021.

On April 1, 2021, STG amended the STG Bank Credit Agreement to raise term loans in an aggregate principal amount of $740 million (STG Term Loan B-3), the proceeds of which were used to refinance a portion of STG's term loan maturing in January 2024. The STG Term Loan B-3 matures in April 2028 and bears interest at LIBOR (or successor rate) plus 3.00%.

Accounts receivable securitization facility

On September 23, 2020, the Company's and DSG's indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, Diamond Sports Finance SPV, LLC (DSPV), entered into a $250 million accounts receivable securitization facility (the A/R Facility) which matures on September 23, 2023, in order to enable DSG to raise incremental funding for the ongoing business needs of the local sports segment.

The outstanding balance under the A/R Facility was $173 million and $177 million as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively. Accounts receivable held by DSPV were $229 million and $228 million as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively.

DSG's ability to make scheduled payments on its debt obligations depends on its financial condition and operating performance, which are subject to prevailing economic and competitive conditions and to certain financial, business, competitive, legislative, regulatory and other factors beyond its control. The impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 continues to create significant uncertainty and disruption in the global economy and financial markets. Further, DSG’s success is dependent upon the existence and terms of its agreements with distributors, OTT and other streaming providers. We anticipate DSG’s existing cash and cash equivalents, cash flow from our operations, and borrowing capacity will be sufficient to satisfy its debt service obligations, capital expenditure requirements, and working capital needs for the next twelve months. However, certain factors, including but not limited to, the severity and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting effect on the economy, our advertisers, Distributors, and their subscribers, could affect DSG’s liquidity and ability to maintain a level of cash flows from operating activities sufficient to permit DSG to pay the principal, premium, if any, and interest on its debt.

Notes payable and finance leases to affiliates

The current portion of notes payable, finance leases, and commercial bank financing in our consolidated balance sheets includes finance leases to affiliates of $2 million as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020. Notes payable, finance leases, and commercial bank financing, less current portion, in our consolidated balance sheets includes finances leases to affiliates of $6 million as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020. See Note 10. Related Person Transactions for further discussion.

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Debt of variable interest entities and guarantees of third-party debt

STG jointly, severally, unconditionally, and irrevocably guaranteed $48 million and $49 million of debt of certain third parties as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively, of which $15 million and $16 million, net of deferred financing costs, related to consolidated VIEs that are included in our consolidated balance sheets as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively. These guarantees primarily relate to the debt of Cunningham Broadcasting Corporation (Cunningham) as discussed under Cunningham Broadcasting Corporation within Note 10. Related Person Transactions. We have determined that, as of March 31, 2021, it is not probable that we would have to perform under any of these guarantees.

5.              REDEEMABLE NONCONTROLLING INTERESTS:

We account for redeemable noncontrolling interests in accordance with ASC 480, Distinguishing Liabilities from Equity, and classify them as mezzanine equity in our consolidated balance sheets because their possible redemption is outside of the control of the Company. Our redeemable non-controlling interests consist of the following:

Redeemable Subsidiary Preferred Equity. On August 23, 2019, Diamond Sports Holdings LLC (DSH), an indirect parent of DSG and indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, issued preferred equity (the Redeemable Subsidiary Preferred Equity).

Dividends accrued during the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020 were $4 million and $13 million, respectively, and are reflected in net income attributable to the redeemable noncontrolling interests in our consolidated statements of operations. The dividends paid in cash accrue at a rate equal to 1-month LIBOR (with a 0.75% floor) plus 7.5%, which is 0.5% lower than the rate payable if the dividends were paid-in-kind during the quarter.

The balance of the Redeemable Subsidiary Preferred Equity was $170 million, net of issuance costs, as of both March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020.

Subsidiary Equity Put Right. A noncontrolling equity holder of one of our subsidiaries has the right to sell their interest to the Company at any time during the 30-day period following September 30, 2025. The value of this redeemable noncontrolling interest was $18 million and $20 million as of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, respectively.

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6.              COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES:

Sports Programming Rights

We are contractually obligated to make payments to purchase sports programming rights. The following table presents our annual non-cancellable commitments relating to our local sports segment's sports programming rights agreements as of March 31, 2021. These commitments assume that sports teams fully deliver the contractually committed games, and do not reflect the impact of rebates expected to be paid by the teams.
(in millions)
2021 (remainder)$1,233 
20221,655 
20231,608 
20241,540 
20251,420 
2026 and thereafter7,008 
Total$14,464 

Other Liabilities

In connection with our acquisition of the Bally RSNs, we assumed certain fixed payment obligations which are payable through 2027. We recorded these obligations in purchase accounting at estimated fair value. As of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, $31 million was recorded within other current liabilities and $98 million and $97 million, respectively, was recorded within other long-term liabilities in our consolidated balance sheets. Interest expense of $2 million was recorded for both the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020.

In connection with our acquisition of the Bally RSNs, we assumed certain variable payment obligations which are payable through 2030. These contractual obligations are based upon the excess cash flow of certain Bally RSNs. We recorded these obligations in purchase accounting at estimated fair value. As of March 31, 2021 and December 31, 2020, $14 million and $12 million, respectively, was recorded within other current liabilities and $41 million was recorded within other long-term liabilities in our consolidated balance sheets. These obligations are measured at the present value of the estimated amount of cash to be paid over the term of the contracts. We recorded a measurement adjustment loss of $1 million for the three months ended March 31, 2021 within other income, net in our consolidated statements of operations.

Litigation
 
We are a party to lawsuits, claims, and regulatory matters from time to time in the ordinary course of business. Actions currently pending are in various stages and no material judgments or decisions have been rendered by hearing boards or courts in connection with such actions. Except as noted below, we do not believe the outcome of these matters, individually or in the aggregate, will have a material effect on the Company's financial statements. 

FCC Litigation Matters

On December 21, 2017, the FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) proposing a $13 million fine for alleged violations of the FCC's sponsorship identification rules by the Company and certain of its subsidiaries. We filed a response disputing the Commission's findings and the proposed fine.

On May 22, 2020, the FCC released an Order and Consent Decree pursuant to which the Company agreed to pay $48 million to resolve the matters covered by the NAL, the FCC’s investigation of the allegations raised in a Hearing Designation Order, and a retransmission related matter. The Company submitted the $48 million payment on August 19, 2020. As part of the consent decree, the Company also agreed to implement a 4-year compliance plan. Two petitions were filed on June 8, 2020 seeking reconsideration of the Order and Consent Decree. The Company filed an opposition to the petitions on June 18, 2020, and the petitions remain pending.

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On September 1, 2020, one of the individuals who filed a petition for reconsideration of the Order and Consent Decree filed a petition to deny the license renewal application of WBFF(TV), Baltimore, MD, and the license renewal applications of two other Baltimore, MD stations with which the Company has a JSA or LMA, Deerfield Media station WUTB(TV) and Cunningham station WNUV(TV). The Company filed an opposition to the petition on October 1, 2020, and the petition remains pending.

On September 2, 2020, the FCC adopted a Memorandum Opinion and Order and Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) against the licensees of several stations with whom the Company has LMAs, JSAs, and/or SSAs in response to a complaint regarding those stations’ retransmission consent negotiations. The NAL proposed a $0.5 million penalty for each station, totaling $9 million. The licensees filed a response to the NAL on October 15, 2020, asking the Commission to dismiss the proceeding or, alternatively, to reduce the proposed forfeiture to $25,000 per station. The Company is not a party to that proceeding and cannot predict whether or how the proceeding will affect the Company’s financial statements. However, we accrued an expense for the above legal matters during 2020, as we consolidate these stations as VIEs.

Other Litigation Matters

On November 6, 2018, the Company agreed to enter into a proposed consent decree with the Department of Justice (DOJ). This consent decree resolves the DOJ’s investigation into the sharing of pacing information among certain stations in some local markets. The DOJ filed the consent decree and related documents in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on November 13, 2018.  The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia entered the consent decree on May 22, 2019. The consent decree is not an admission of any wrongdoing by the Company and does not subject Sinclair to any monetary damages or penalties. The Company believes that even if the pacing information was shared as alleged, it would not have impacted any pricing of advertisements or the competitive nature of the market. The consent decree requires the Company to adopt certain antitrust compliance measures, including the appointment of an Antitrust Compliance Officer, consistent with what the Department of Justice has required in previous consent decrees in other industries. The consent decree also requires the Company's stations not to exchange pacing and certain other information with other stations in their local markets, which the Company’s management has already instructed them not to do.

The Company is aware of twenty-two putative class action lawsuits that were filed against the Company following published reports of the DOJ investigation into the exchange of pacing data within the industry. On October 3, 2018, these lawsuits were consolidated in the Northern District of Illinois. The consolidated action alleges that the Company and thirteen other broadcasters conspired to fix prices for commercials to be aired on broadcast television stations throughout the United States and engaged in unlawful information sharing, in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. The consolidated action seeks damages, attorneys’ fees, costs and interest, as well as injunctions against adopting practices or plans that would restrain competition in the ways the plaintiffs have alleged. The Court denied the Defendants’ motion to dismiss on November 6, 2020. Since then, the Plaintiffs have served the Defendants with written discovery requests, and the Court has set a pretrial schedule requiring discovery to be completed by July 1, 2022, and briefing on class certification to be completed by November 14, 2022. The Company believes the lawsuits are without merit and intends to vigorously defend itself against all such claims.

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7.              EARNINGS PER SHARE:
 
The following table reconciles income (numerator) and shares (denominator) used in our computations of basic and diluted earnings per share for the periods presented (in millions, except share amounts which are reflected in thousands):

 Three Months Ended 
 March 31,
 20212020
Income (Numerator)  
Net income$26 $151 
Net income attributable to the redeemable noncontrolling interests(4)(20)
Net income attributable to the noncontrolling interests(34)(8)
Numerator for basic and diluted (loss) earnings per common share available to common shareholders$(12)$123 
Shares (Denominator)  
Basic weighted-average common shares outstanding74,389 90,609 
Dilutive effect of stock-settled appreciation rights and outstanding stock options 617 
Diluted weighted-average common and common equivalent shares outstanding74,389 91,226 

The following table shows the weighted-average stock-settled appreciation rights and outstanding stock options (in thousands) that are excluded from the calculation of diluted earnings per common share as the inclusion of such shares would be anti-dilutive:

 Three Months Ended 
 March 31,
 20212020
Weighted-average stock-settled appreciation rights and outstanding stock options excluded1,703 2,814 

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8.              SEGMENT DATA:
 
We measure segment performance based on operating income (loss). We have two reportable segments: broadcast and local sports. Our broadcast segment, previously referred to as our local news and marketing services segment, provides free over-the-air programming to television viewing audiences and includes stations in 87 markets located throughout the continental United States. Our local sports segment, previously referred to as our sports segment, provides viewers with live professional sports content and includes our Bally RSNs, Marquee, and our investment in the YES Network. Other and corporate are not reportable segments but are included for reconciliation purposes. Other primarily consists of original networks and content, including Tennis, non-broadcast digital and internet solutions, technical services, and other non-media investments. Corporate costs primarily include our costs to operate as a public company and to operate our corporate headquarters location. All of our businesses are located within the United States.

Segment financial information is included in the following tables for the periods presented (in millions):
As of March 31, 2021BroadcastLocal sportsOther & CorporateEliminationsConsolidated
Assets$4,800 $6,222 $2,121 $(11)$13,132 

For the three months ended March 31, 2021BroadcastLocal sportsOther & CorporateEliminationsConsolidated
Revenue$