Fox/TBS ink new national TV deal

In case you missed it in the past couple of days (I did while I was flying back to Australia – again), MLB sewed up its national broadcasting rights for the next seven years by inking deals with Fox and TBS. The actual money being doled out to MLB by the networks is actually going to be about the same if not less than the previous Fox-only contract. Let’s tally up the national TV money:

  • Fox – ~$250 million per year for 7 years. Includes World Series, All Star Game, national Saturday broadcasts, and alternating ALCS and NLCS based on the year.
  • TBS – ~$150 million per year for 7 years. Includes ALDS and NLDS, and whichever LCS Fox does not pick up. Deal includes 26 Sunday afternoon games (new schedule, not the ESPN Sunday night game) per season. Atlanta Braves broadcasts will be reduced, which probably means Turner South will take over many of the Braves’ games.
  • ESPN – $296 million per year for 7 more years (new deal started this season). Includes Sunday night and Wednesday night broadcasts along with certain marquee and late season matchups (usually Yankees-Red Sox). Does not include playoff games.

Combined, it comes to upwards of $700 million per year through 2013 ($5 billion total), not including money gotten from the Japanese TV deals, internet streaming through MLB Advanced Media, and various other rights fees. Still, this pales in comparison to the NFL’s whopping $3.7 billion per year in national TV rights. Of course, that’s comparing apples with oranges since MLB makes up the difference with tremendous amounts of locally generated revenue, including local TV rights.

The news sets the table for the upcoming CBA negotiations, which as mentioned before, are more a battle between big and small market owners than between owners and labor.

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