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