MLB completes 8-year deal with Fox, Turner Sports
Major League Baseball agreed with Fox and Turner Sports on
eight-year contracts that will run through 2021 and keep the World
Series on Fox.
The amount baseball receives from the two networks will double
to an average of about $800 million annually, with Fox’s share
averaging about $500 million.
”Both networks are passionate about baseball and are committed
to covering, promoting and growing the sport, and I want to thank
them for their continued support,” Commissioner Bud Selig said
Fox also will retain rights to the All-Star game and a league
championship series every year, and adds coverage of two division
series starting in 2014. Fox broadcast the World Series in 1996 and
1998, and has had exclusive rights in 2000.
TBS will retain the rights to air one league championship
series, two division series and one wild-card game.
MLB Network will continue to have the right to two games from
one division series in the new eight-year deal.
Fox and TBS will alternate between showing the American League
and National League playoffs from year to year. MLB Network’s two
division series game will come from Fox’s games.
ESPN and MLB in August announced a new deal covering 2014-21
that will increase ESPN’s average yearly payment from about $360
million to approximately $700 million.
Fox, which broadcasts a Saturday regular-season game each week
under its current deal, will double regular-season game rights from
26 to 52 under the new contract. Twelve of those will be
exclusively shown on Fox, but the deal gives the network the right
to air as many as 40 games on another nationally distributed Fox
”We are continuing to evaluate the possibility of a national
sports channel,” Randy Freer, co-president of Fox Sports Media
Group, said during a conference call. He added that no announcement
on such a network was imminent.
Speculation has been that Fox will rebrand its Speed Network
into a ESPN-style, all-sports network, and having major league
baseball games to show on it would help greatly with distribution
to cable and satellite providers.
Under the new deals, TBS will also have the rights to air 13
regular-season Sunday games. However, it will gain more telecasts
that will be broadcast simultaneously with the local club TV feed
within a market and increased digital rights.
Turner had carried all four division series from 2007 through
last year but gave up two division series games to the MLB Network
under a deal running through 2013. That was part of a financial
agreement that gave it rights to the two wild-card round games this
ESPN gains a wild-card game starting in 2014. It also had
televised 26 Sunday games each season.
ESPN gained additional rights to highlights and digital content
in its deal plus more flexibility to show games involving popular