Major League Baseball (MLB) will have no problem paying off its bills for the next eight years as it has come to an agreement with Turner Broadcasting System (TBS) and Fox Sports that will see the networks broadcast games until the end of the 2021 baseball season.
The eight-year contracts will see MLB earn more than double the amount of the current deal with each network paying approximately $800 million a year with Fox dishing out $500 million of it. In addition, the league recently came to an agreement with ESPN for $700 million each year over the same period of time. The network’s current deal sees them pay just $360 million a year.
Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, said the television networks do a great job of promoting and broadcasting the sport as they’re passionate about it and very committed. He then tanked them for continuing to support MLB.
The World Series will remain on Fox as will the annual All-Star Game and the network will also broadcast a league championship series each year. Starting in 2014, the network will also show two division series.
TBS will broadcast a league championship series along with a pair of division series and a wild-card game. The MLB Network retains the rights to a pair of contests from one of the division series over the life of the contract.
TBS and Fox will alternate each year between broadcasting National League and American League playoff games and the games the MLB Network shows will come out of the Fox broadcasts.
Fox will also double its Saturday broadcasts from the current 26 to 52 in the new contract. A total of 12 of those games will be exclusive to Fox and the channel can air up to 40 contests on another national channel that Fox distributes.
This is a key element to the deal since it’s been rumoured that Fox will soon be adding a new sports channel that will be made available across the nation. However, Fox’s Randy Freer said an announcement on a new national channel isn’t imminent.
It’s believed that Fox will change the Speed Network into some type of all-sports channel similar to ESPN. If this happens, then it would broadcast MLB games in it as a way to get the channel picked up by satellite and cable providers.
TBS will broadcast 13 Sunday contests during the regular season according to the agreement and more games will be added from local television feeds that are being broadcast simultaneously.
ESPN will start showing a wild-card game beginning in the 2014 season and it will also show 26 games on Sundays, just like it has been doing. In addition, ESPN has gained the rights to additional digital content and MLB highlights. The new contract also enables the popular sports network to air more games that involve some of the league’s most popular clubs.