Tuesday, October 2, 2012

MLB Inks TV Deals Through 2021

Major League Baseball's national television landscape is set through 2021.

MLB on Tuesday announced an eight-year national media rights agreements with FOX and TBS, and combined with the recently announced ESPN deal, the three contracts will deliver a combined $12.4 million -- more than a 100-percent increase in annual rights fees to MLB over the current arrangements.

The new deals go into effect starting in 2014, and it means the World Series and All-Star Game will remain on FOX, while the League Championship Series and Division Series will be shared across FOX Sports Media Group (FSMG), TBS and MLB Network. Both deals also include digital "TV Everywhere" rights to stream televised games and other MLB-related programming online and through mobile devices.

"I have often said in recent years that we are living in the golden age of baseball and that the game has never been more popular," Commissioner Bud Selig said. "But to see the unprecedented and historic commitment these networks have made to televising Major League Baseball for years to come is truly amazing. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I am thrilled that we will continue our relationships with both FOX and Turner. 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."

Under the terms of the new agreements, FSMG will retain the rights to the World Series, the All-Star Game and one LCS while adding coverage of two Division Series starting in 2014. FSMG also will double its number of regular season national windows on Saturdays from 26 to 52, with 12 of those windows exclusive to FOX and as many as 40 non-exclusive windows on another nationally distributed FOX channel.

TBS will retain rights to air one LCS, two Division Series and one of the Wild Card games presented by Budweiser. TBS will also air afternoon games with new co-exist rights on the final 13 Sundays of the regular season. FSMG and Turner will alternate each year which league's DS and LCS games they telecast, with MLB Network airing two Division Series games each year from the same league as FOX.

Tom's Take:  The total deal is said to be worth a bit north of $12 Billion, that's with a B

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