New ESPN MLB Television Rights Deal Looks to End Local Blackouts of Games
For Major League Baseball fans without cable who enjoy watching the ESPN3.com or WatchESPN platforms, dealing with a local blackout makes you just want to pull your hair out.
But as of 2014, this may be a thing of the past, according to an Associated Press report. A newly announced, record-setting deal by Major League Baseball and ESPN will grant the television network giant the ability to show its Monday and Wednesday night telecasts on its television and Internet platforms without the current local blackout restrictions.
In the $5.6 billion deal, according to the Biz of Baseball, the Sunday Night Baseball franchise will reportedly continue as the exclusive presentation of one Sunday night game per week, as well as increase the number of "coexists," meaning games that are offered in a particular market by the original rights holder will not black out the national ESPN broadcast in those cities.
"I think this deal is very fair," MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said in the AP report. "Given the number of games that we have, we certainly don't want to hurt any local rights holders. I don't think we have here at all. The clubs, on balance, are all going to be remarkably better off."
And speaking of fair, another part of this contract is the promise to show every single MLB team at least once in a live telecast during the season, according to the report, addressing some of the heat ESPN has taken in recent years from fans nationwide for showing too many Red Sox-Yankees games.
"We want to have a balance to maximize the teams that are most popular and drive the most ratings, but we also want to work with baseball to feature every team and help grow the game," ESPN President John Skipper told the AP.
On top of the exposure, says the Biz of Baseball report, each team's share from the $5.6 billion figure will be an equal $23.33 million a season as of 2014 and on, up from the current $10.2 million figure.
Elimination of blackouts, greater widespread exposure and more equal money for all teams—this is a deal that everyone from executives to players to fans can all agree on.
It's just a huge win for all involved.
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