Today Major League Baseball announced a new deal with Turner Sports and Fox Sports Media Group to extend their contracts through the 2021 season. The deal along with the recently finished ESPN extension according to commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig is worth $1.55 billion annually with a total value of $12.4 billion over the life of the 8-year agreement.
It is an agreement that will help Bleacher Report because part of the new deal with Turner allows for the use of highlights and other digital media to be accessed and used for the publication.
I spoke via conference call to the commissioner about the new deal and what all the parties got in the eight-year package.
JW: Why the big increase in rights fees and what will each team get out of the deal?
Selig: Baseball is a very valuable property. We have had another outstanding season with down to the wire finishes. We might just have a Triple Crown winner and we have a division champion in Washington, D.C and those are just a few of the headlines.
We are also very pleased that this money will be shared equally between all 30 of our clubs and it will be up to them on how it is spent. However, we are proud of our product and it is because of the health of the game and the confidence in our product that we got our long time partners from Turner, Fox and ESPN to stay with and invest in the future of the game.
In a quote provided to me by Turner Sports Public Relations:
“Major League Baseball on TBS has been a staple of our programming foundation and the home to so many memorable baseball moments,” said David Levy, President of Sales, Distribution and Sports, Turner Broadcasting . “This agreement reflects our respect for one another’s business and the mutual regard we have with MLB.”
Fox Sports gave me this statement:
“It is with tremendous pleasure that we’re able to extend and advance our relationship with Major League Baseball for another eight years,” said Fox Sports Media Group's co-presidents Randy Freer and Eric Shanks.
“Baseball, both nationally and regionally, has been part of our DNA here at FOX for a long time, and we’re looking forward to working with MLB on many new initiatives that will grow and promote the sport in coming years.”
So what did everyone get out of the deal?
According to Major League Baseball, FSMG will retain the rights to the World Series, the All-Star Game and one League Championship Series while adding coverage of two Division Series starting in 2014.
FSMG will also 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 the rights to air one League Championship Series, 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. Turner Sports also gets extensive digital rights that will be used on a number of platforms including what I mentioned before for Bleacher Report.
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.
ESPN will keep their Sunday, Monday and Wednesday packages along with the exclusive national radio rights.
* All quotes were obtained first hand via conference call from Major League Baseball or through email releases provided by both Turner and Fox.
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