ESPN to pay $5.6B for Major League Baseball rights

(Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

(Curtis Compton, ccompton@ajc.com)

It looks like ESPN is prepared to pay big bucks for the rights to broadcast Major League Baseball games through 2021, according to news reports.

Reuters is reporting the sports network has agreed to pay $5.6 billion over eight years for the broadcast TV and digital rights. According to the Associated Press, the deal also gives ESPN more flexibility to show games involving popular teams.

MLB didn’t disclose the financial details but said in a statement that the deal would set a record for payments for baseball broadcasting rights.

ESPN currently pays about $306 million annually to MLB for domestic TV rights and about $50 million for digital, international and radio rights. The new deal would mean annual payments would jump to around $700 million annually, Reuters said.

Citing people familiar with the deal:

ESPN will retain rights to “Sunday Night Baseball,” Monday and Wednesday night games, and highlights for “Baseball Tonight,” the network said in a statement. ESPN also gains one post-season game annually during the Wild Card round of the playoffs. The game will alternate each year between the American and National leagues.

ESPN already has a lock on football, with a National Football League deal to broadcast “Monday Night Football” through 2021 at a price tag of $15.2 billion.

22 comments Add your comment

Falcon Josh

August 28th, 2012
5:52 pm

Doesnt MLB channel get these same rights for free minus wild card games?
Suckers!!!!!!

Lion Heart

August 28th, 2012
5:58 pm

“the deal also gives ESPN more flexibility to show games involving popular teams.”
————-
Oh boy, more Red Sox/Yankees games. Fortunately, mlb.com and DirecTV MLB package make ESPN unnecessary.

DC

August 28th, 2012
6:04 pm

Watch them drop the Nascar programming in order to redirect this money to MLB. Nascar is a sinking ship which will be lucky to get the full coverage that they now have when the TV contracts are renegotiated.

techhorn

August 28th, 2012
6:54 pm

At what point does the word monopoly come nto play with ESPN

Chris

August 28th, 2012
7:05 pm

‘We now take you to the first of our 162 games involving a team from New York, Boston, Philadelphia or Los Angeles, since those are the only cities known to exist to us.’

Drexel Gal

August 28th, 2012
7:09 pm

They will throw in at least one Cubs home game, so they can use the word, “Cubbies”, and the phrase, “the friendly confines”.

Blazerdawg

August 28th, 2012
7:13 pm

Miss the Joe Garagiola & Tony Kubek Saturday Games of the Week on NBC

Moobs Johnson

August 28th, 2012
7:18 pm

Hopefully Bobby Valentine can somehow keep his job in Boston so we won’t have to listen as an ESPN announcer.

Let's Be Real

August 28th, 2012
7:20 pm

Chris

August 28th, 2012
7:05 pm

‘We now take you to the first of our 162 games involving a team from New York, Boston, Philadelphia or Los Angeles, since those are the only cities known to exist to us.’

TRUTH. So tired of seeing Yankee Stadium and Fenway.

Max Sizemore

August 28th, 2012
7:27 pm

Amen, Moobs, amen!!

bring back blauser

August 28th, 2012
8:20 pm

how nice, we will be able to watch yankees, mets, red sox, phillies, and the dodgers for a whole season

straightshooter

August 28th, 2012
8:21 pm

I seriously doubt that I’ll watch even one of their games. Too much Northeast bias.

kbb

August 28th, 2012
8:33 pm

MLB ratings are down across the board, yet ESPN gives them double the current prices? Whatever…

Taylor

August 28th, 2012
8:45 pm

great….now I can finally see Boston, Mets, and NY play all year long

Atlantarama

August 28th, 2012
8:53 pm

This is why cable should go to an a la carte system. We’re paying about $5.00/month just for ESPN, and I could do without it to save some money.

spider

August 28th, 2012
9:03 pm

dont care I only follow h.s. and college baseball

Tom

August 28th, 2012
10:46 pm

As long as cable/satellite channels are bundled and ESPN is guaranteed to get north of $10 per subscriber for their cluster of channels, they will have a steady stream of OUR money (both those interested in sports and those who do not care for it) to throw at baseball (and other sports) further escalating the exorbitant salaries of players and profit margins for owners.

david

August 29th, 2012
6:49 am

Blazerdawg: Totally agree, and you make me feel old

More Yankee and Dodger baseball. Red Sox are done, not sure about the Braves til they are sold.

dick whiskey

August 29th, 2012
8:01 am

baseball sucks,is totally boring,and as sleep inducing as NASCAR,

@eidsonb

August 29th, 2012
10:47 am

Man I must be asleep a LOT…

Really..?

August 29th, 2012
12:21 pm

You hit the nail on the head Whiskey….Nascar is a sinking ship…and ESPN is going to dump it! And baseball is just as boring….snooze fest.

Robert NSB

August 29th, 2012
12:35 pm

I agree with all the comments..especially with Moobs and Techhorn. The showing of the games is one thing…but listening to more from those so called ESPN Experts / Analyist seems unbearable. That means more stupid one liners…self indulgence and women reporting on sports they never played or barely understand were it not for all the script writers behind the scenes. It kills me when I here some ESPN female psuedo-jock say that some guy “just went yard on that pitch”. ABC owns ESPN so it all makes sense to me. MLB and NFL are both media pimps so get used to it. At some point we’ll be charged by the game(s) we watch.