A little more than a month after announcing a $5.6 billion television broadcast deal with ESPN, Major League Baseball announced on Tuesday that it had agreed to an eight year extension for the broadcast rights contracts currently held by FOX and TBS for a combined $6.8 billion.
As part of the deal, nationally broadcast games will no longer be blacked out in the United States on MLB.tv and the Extra Innings cable package, beginning in 2014. Until then, you’re welcome to move to Canada where these games are available so long as the Toronto Blue Jays are not involved, so yeah, they’re all available. As part of the deal, Fox will also sell two division series games to MLB Network for $30 million each year because no one wants to actually watch every playoff baseball game.
Everything else, in terms of broadcasts, will remain the same with FOX retaining its hold on Saturday games; TBS keeping its Sunday afternoon games; the playoff games ( that aren’t broadcast on ESPN) being split between the two networks; and FOX airing the All-Star Game and World Series.
While individual teams each look after their own regional television broadcasts, money from national television is split evenly among all 30 teams. This means that each team, beginning in 2014 and lasting until 2021, will receive almost $52 million annually, which is more than double what clubs received under the previous agreements with ESPN, FOX and TBS. That’s only $3 million less than the total payrolls of the playoff-bound Oakland Athletics and the regional television blackout-suffering San Diego Padres.
It’s officially become impossible for Major League Baseball owners to ever cry poor again. And Josh Hamilton, along with the rest of the 2013 free agent class, are probably pretty pleased about this.