Major League Baseball and Turner Sports announced a seven-year media rights extension on Thursday morning that will continue into the 2028 season. John Orand and Eric Prisbell of the Sports Business Journal say the agreement will make Turner Sports pay about $ 535 million a year in the new agreement – a 65% increase over the annual amount of their previous deal of $ 325 million. That would result in a total extension to $ 3.7 billion for Major League baseball.
This is the last extremely lucrative media rights deal for MLB. Less than two years ago, MLB and FOX Sports announced an extension of media rights covering the same period from 2022-28, which cost $ 5.1 billion, and a three-year streaming deal to $ 300 million with DAZN. FOX retains its rights to the World Series on the parameters of this transaction.
Toddler owner Tom Ricketts, for example, lamented the “biblical” losses of 2020 as he told ESPN’s Jesse Rodgers: “[Owners] collect all the income they can, from tickets and media rights, they bear their expenses and give all the money left to their CEO to spend them. The league itself does not make much money. “
The comments in this regard, compared to multibillion-dollar agreements, such as today’s Turner deal and the expansion of FOX in 2018, only serve to ignite the flames in the ever-increasing tension between MLBPA and MLB owners. This tension turned out to be extremely damaging earlier this year, as the two countries spent months at loggerheads over the economic components of the return proposals, a controversial progress that has not worked well for either side.
The mistrust between the two countries believes that it will continue in a unique off-season, which many expect to be disappointing for free agents, as the teams want to regain lost revenue. And all of this comes with just over a year left under this MLB-MLBPA collective bargaining agreement, which expires in December 2021.
Referring to the details of today’s agreement, TBS will continue to broadcast one Wild Card game, two rounds of the Divisional Series and one Series of the League Championship each year. The agreement also introduces a new, season-long baseball package on Tuesday night, starting in 2022, which will host Ernie Johnson and feature analysis from Pedro Martinez,, Jimmy Rollins and Curtis Granderson. There is also a digital component to the agreement, as might be expected, which allows Turner to provide streaming access across different platforms.
“We are excited to expand our long-standing relationship with Major League baseball and all the opportunities this agreement offers us as we expand the scope of the game across all of our platforms,” said WarnerMedia News and Sports Chairman Jeff Zucker.
“This agreement positions the two organizations for mutual growth, continuing to cover the post-season on TBS, providing a new baseball franchise on Tuesday night and expanding baseball’s presence on Turner Sports’ digital platforms,” the Major League Baseball Commissioner added in a statement. Rob Manfred.
It is also noteworthy that today’s agreement – similar to the 2018 FOX deal – focuses on the existing format for playoffs of 10 teams, including Wild Card sudden death games. Meanwhile, Commissioner Manfred has already expressed hope that this year’s expanded play-off format will remain in the long term. It looks like this will create an additional opportunity for MLB to sell rights to some of the newly created circles after the season – be it Turner Sports, FOX or another large retail outlet.
Various reports define this year’s extended format after the season, generating between $ 200-300 million in additional television revenue for the league. However, players need to sign up for a permanent expansion of the season, which will certainly be a key point of conversation in the aforementioned wave of collective bargaining that is looming on the horizon.