USA Today is reporting that the Texas Rangers have extended their contract with FOX Sports Southwest for $3 billion over twenty years.
The Texas Rangers. $150 million a year just from television.
To compare, the Los Angeles Dodgers, who reach almost twice as many people with their regional television broadcasts only receive $45 million a year from FOX.
Far be it from me to suggest something fishy, but isn’t it a little bit interesting that this mega deal comes shortly after Chuck Greenberg and Nolan Ryan outbid Mark Cuban for ownership of the team?
If you’ll remember, it was assumed that Cuban would use his purchase of the Rangers to establish a regional sports network that would directly compete with FOX Sports Southwest.
Earlier this year, FOX Sports offered then-owner Tom Hicks a desperately needed cash advance in exchange for broader TV rights. However, MLB stepped in to stop the payment.
Back in 2000, Hicks signed a 15 year deal with FOX for $250 million that included TV rights for the Dallas Stars in addition to the Rangers, which, at the time was seen as a way of keeping Hicks from pursuing a competitive regional sports network, himself.
You have to admire FOX’s method of dealing with potential competition.
Although, the new agreement does leave a bunch of question marks. Was a similar deal available to Hicks while he was owner? Would it have made a difference to Hick’s ownership of the team? Would Mark Cuban be at all interested in pursuing content from the ownership group that outbid him? Did the thought of this scare FOX?