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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 02 October 2012 19:17

MLB National Television Contract Details

(2014-2021, 8-years)

ESPN

Announced: Aug. 20, 2012
Value: $5.6 billion ($700 million annually)
Details (via ESPN):

At the time, it is the largest broadcast deal in history for MLB and annual rights fee increase by 100% over its deals that expire in 2014. The deal grants ESPN, which first began televising Major League Baseball games in 1990, a significant increase in studio and game content, including the right to broadcast up to 90 regular season MLB games per year across the ESPN networks beginning in 2014 and running through the 2021 season.  ESPN will continue to telecast three Major League Baseball windows each week including Monday nights, Wednesday nights, and the nationally exclusive “Sunday Night Baseball” franchise.

In addition, ESPN will once again televise Postseason baseball, beginning in 2014 with one of the two Wild Card Games presented by Budweiser.  ESPN will alternate airing the American League and National League Wild Card Games each year.  Also starting in 2014, ESPN will have the rights to all potential regular season tiebreaker games.  This new agreement covers television and radio rights to MLB programming both in the U.S. and internationally, and will include expanded hours ofBaseball Tonight and other ancillary baseball programming across ESPN platforms.  In addition, ESPN MLB game telecasts and other baseball programming will be available via ESPN3.com and the Watch ESPN app.  ESPN has also made a commitment to showcase each of the 30 MLB Clubs at least once per season in a live game telecast.

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said: “On behalf of Major League Baseball, I am thrilled that we will continue our long-standing relationship with ESPN far into the future.  The level of ESPN’s commitment to baseball – both financially and through its expanded content – is a testament to the strength of our game and its unprecedented popularity among our fans.  Through its various networks and other media platforms, ESPN offers baseball fans more avenues to experience the game than ever before, and we’re thankful for their continued support.”

ESPN President John Skipper said: “We’re thrilled to renew our long-standing agreement with Major League Baseball into the next decade. It’s a great property. The enormous scope of what we acquired will provide fans with more live baseball and more ways to access baseball content than ever before.”

Additional details of the agreement include:

  • ESPN will continue to have exclusive television rights to certain MLB All-Star Week events including the State Farm Home Run Derby and Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game.
  • A nationally exclusive Opening Night national telecast, as well as full coverage of Opening Day and national holiday games (Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day).
  • Up to 10 Spring Training games each season.
  • In each year of the agreement, ESPN will air six one-hour specials created by Major League Baseball Productions, the Emmy Award-winning television and video production division of Major League Baseball.

FOX Sports Media Group

Announced: Oct. 2, 2012
Value: $4 billion ($500 million annually)
Details (via FSMG):

significantly increases FSMG’s television, digital and Spanish-language rights and keeps FOX as MLB’s national broadcast television home through 2021.  The agreement was announced today by MLB commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig and FSMG co-presidents Randy Freer and Eric Shanks.  FOX Sports has been a national MLB rights-holder since 1996, and the sport’s exclusive national broadcast partner since 2001.

Under terms of the newly executed agreement, FSMG retains the television rights to most MLB jewel events, including the World Series, one League Championship Series, the All-Star Game and beginning in 2014 adds coverage of two Division Series.  That same year FSMG also doubles its Saturday regular-season telecast windows from 26 to 52 and gains rights to develop MLB-branded programs, expanded footage and highlights for linear and digital platforms, “TV Everywhere” rights for FOX-televised games; and Spanish-language rights.

FSMG’s new and expanded rights agreement with MLB includes:

  • An eight-year term running from 2014 to 2021, which is the longest of FOX’s four national rights agreements with MLB.
  • FOX remains the exclusive broadcast home each year to the World Series and All-Star Game, MLB’s crown jewel events.  The network has carried 14 of 16 Fall Classics and 15 of 17 Mid-Summer Classics since 1996.
  • FSMG televises one League Championship Series a year, alternating leagues each season with TBS.  FOX has broadcast 22 of 32 LCS played since 1996.
  • FSMG gains rights to televise two Division Series annually, with one game from each series carried by MLB Network.  FSMG televises the ALDS in the same years as the ALCS and vice versa when airing the NLDS and NLCS.  FOX carried Division Series games from 1997 to 2006.
  • Rights to 52 national regular-season windows, two per Saturday, double the 26 included in the current rights agreement:
  • 12 exclusive Saturday windows featuring up to 45 games are slated for broadcast on FOX.
  • Beginning in 2014, subscribers of MLB Extra Innings and MLB.TV have the opportunity to watch Saturday MLB on FOX games subject to certain geographic black outs that protect games assigned to local FOX affiliates.
  • As many as 40 single game windows on a nationally distributed FOX channel.
  • Rights to a nightly MLB-branded baseball-specific highlights program during the regular season with rights to live game look-ins, in-progress game highlights and MLB library footage.
  • A weekly 30-minute program produced by MLB Productions.
  • Right to use MLB library footage in one nightly, multi-sport news and information program.
  • FOX Deportes, the top-ranked Spanish-language sports network in the country, has the right to carry all games televised by FSMG, including the All-Star Game, Division Series, LCS and World Series.
  • Highlight rights for FSMG digital platforms.
  • FSMG has “TV Everywhere” rights to stream all FSMG televised games and MLB related programming in both regular and postseason.

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said:  “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.  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.”

 

“It is with tremendous pleasure that we’re able to extend and advance our relationship with Major League Baseball for another eight years,” said Freer and 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.”

 

No other media company is as committed to live coverage of Major League Baseball as FSMG.  In addition to the national media rights granted to FSMG, FOX Sports Networks (FSN), the nation’s largest regional sports network group, offers unparalleled local coverage, and serves as the local TV partner to half of all MLB teams and produces more than 2,000 MLB telecasts annually.  FSN also offers fans comprehensive access to their favorite teams through a deep mix of original programming and up-to-the-minute news, information and analysis on its MLB pregame and postgame shows.

TBS

Announced: Oct. 2, 2012
Value: $2.4 billion ($300 million annually)
Details (via Turner Sports):

The eight-year, media rights extension that will encompass a variety of screens and platforms it was announced today by MLB Commissioner Allan H. Selig and David Levy, President of Sales, Distribution and Sports, Turner Broadcasting. This new agreement builds on MLB’s long-standing relationship with Turner Sports and is highlighted by an extension of TBS’s television rights for the MLB postseason and the addition of co-exist rights for the network’s ‘Sunday MLB on TBS’ franchise. The agreement also features TV Everywhere rights and expanded digital rights for Turner’s portfolio.

The extended agreement, effective 2014 through 2021, will guarantee a 45-plus year continuous relationship between Turner and MLB, dating back to 1973 when the company began televising MLB games on WTCG (now TBS). The partnership represents one of the longest-running relationships between a media company and league in the history of televised sports. The current agreement between MLB and Turner, which started in 2007, will conclude following the 2013 season. 

“Major League Baseball on TBS has been a staple of our programming foundation and the home to so many memorable baseball moments,” said Levy. “This agreement reflects our respect for one another’s business and the mutual regard we have with MLB.” 

Beginning with the 2014 MLB season, Turner’s expanded package will include the following television rights:

  • TBS will have exclusive television rights to one League Championship Series each year of the agreement. As part of the deal, the ALCS and NLCS will alternate each year between TBS and Fox.
  • TBS will have exclusive rights to broadcast two of the four MLB Division Series, which will alternate between AL and NL each year.
  • TBS will carry one Wild Card Game, presented by Budweiser, which will alternate between the AL and NL each year.
  • TBS will also air afternoon games with new co-exist rights on the final 13 Sundays of the regular season as part of the network’s ‘Sunday MLB on TBS’ Game of the Week package

    “This new agreement adds considerable value to our portfolio of offerings,” adds Levy. “We’re pleased to extend our relationship with the MLB brand across multiple screens to create an even richer baseball experience for our viewers, advertisers and distribution partners.” 

    In addition to the television rights, the deal encompasses an expansion of Turner’s digital rights across a wide spectrum of screens and platforms including mobile, web, tablets and connected devices. The agreement also includes:
  • TV Everywhere rights that will allow TBS to simulcast its MLB games and related programming across Turner platforms.
  • Increased footage and highlights rights for Turner websites and applications. This includes Bleacher Report, which Turner Sports acquired in August 2012, and its popular Team Stream app.
  • Interactive television rights. This includes the rights to create companion and ancillary products related to the TBS broadcast of regular and postseason games.

MLB Network

Announced: Oct. 2, 2012
Value: (Not currently available)
Details:

MLB Network will exclusively air two League Division Series games every Postseason, with the two game telecasts coming from one League Division Series each year. Today’s announcement follows MLB Network’s current plans to televise two League Division Series games in 2012 and in 2013, as announced in May.

MLB Network’s first League Division Series game telecasts are scheduled to air this Sunday, October 7, called by Matt Vasgersian and Jim Kaat, who will be returning to the MLB Postseason booth for the first time since 1995, and on Wednesday, October 10, with Kaat and Bob Costas, in his first Postseason game call in 12 years.

MLB Network will continue to air more than 150 regular season games, including MLB Network Showcase game productions, each season. MLB Network has produced regular season game telecasts since its inaugural season in 2009 with a roster of on-air talent including Costas, Kaat, Al Leiter, Harold Reynolds, John Smoltz and Vasgersian.

MLB Network also will televise the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and the MLB All-Star Game Selection Show each year starting in 2014, while continuing to produce the MLB First-Year Player Draft, the Emmy Award-winning MLB Tonight seven days per week, and other regular season and offseason studio programming including Quick Pitch, The Rundown, Intentional Talk, Hot Stove and Clubhouse Confidential.

“Securing two exclusive Postseason games, in addition to televising regular season games, special events and our Emmy Award-winning studio programming, demonstrates our commitment to grow MLB Network and provide baseball fans with high-quality production and programming over the next decade,” said MLB Network President and CEO Tony Petitti.

COMPARISON CHART DETAILING FINANCIAL INFO (MLB NETWORK, N/A)

Broadcast Partner

Prior (Annually)

New (Annually)

Increase (Annually)

Total Contract

ESPN

$306 million

$700 million

$394 million

$5.6 billion

FOX

$257.1 million

$500 million

$242.9 million

$4 billion

TBS

$148.6 million

$300 million

$151.4 million

$2.4 billion

TOTAL

$711.7 million

$1.5 billion

$788.3 million

$12 billion


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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