The St. Louis Cardinals have been the most consistent team in baseball over the past 15 years, and Fox Sports Midwest rewarded that distinction Thursday with a new massive contract.
According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the 15-year deal, which will go into effect when the current agreement ends after the 2017 season, is worth upward of $1 billion.
Per David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the deal makes sense considering the Cards' popularity and importance within their region:
This does give us a great deal of stability over the next 15 years and does so in a market that has been shifting. It has a nice increase in rights fees as well as the equity component and as a whole it will allow us to remain as competitive as we have been with our payroll, with our spending in the international markets, with our activity in amateur markets and other ways we have invested in development. We have certainty going forward.
St. Louis has qualified for the playoffs in 11 of the past 15 seasons, including four trips to the World Series and two championships along the way. At 64-37 with the best record in baseball, the Cardinals are well on their way to another postseason appearance, even after losing ace Adam Wainwright to a torn Achilles in late April.
The new deal could open a can of worms for Fox Sports Midwest, though, because it will soon have a decision to make on the Kansas City Royals, per Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star:
The Royals haven't enjoyed the same sustained success as the Cards, but they made it to the World Series last season, and many consider them the favorites to do it again in 2015, including Odds Shark.
Regardless of what happens with that deal, it is an exciting time for baseball in the Midwest, which currently boasts two of MLB's best teams.
St. Louis' new contract was a long time coming considering how consistently strong the organization has been, and if it continues on its current path, Fox Sports Midwest figures to get its money's worth.
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