Are you ready for some baseball?
Wait, where did everybody go?
Major League Baseball seems to be doing alright for itself. It's premier franchise, the New York Yankees, are winning lots of games. A second franchise, the Los Angeles Dodgers, appear to be reaching gigantic status and are poised to challenge the Yankees for being baseball's premier franchise - which I'm sure is okay with MLB commissioner Bud Selig, having a top franchise is each of the nation's top media markets.
Now comes news that MLB has agreed to a $5.6 billion deal with ESPN, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
In the announcement made earlier today, MLB referred to a “record-setting increase in rights fees.”
“This deal sets a new standard for Major League Baseball broadcasting as ESPN’s annual rights fee will increase by 100 percent over its current deals,” it read, “marking an all-time record for an MLB broadcasting deal.”
ESPN president John Skipper and Selig announced the deal, which will pay MLB $700 million a season. Those rates are double what the network had been forking over under its existing contract, which ends following the 2013 season.
ESPN, which is owned by Disney, will have the rights to 90 regular-season games a year from the start of 2014 through the 2021 season. It will continue to telecast three games each week, on Monday, Wednesday and Sunday nights.
Additionally, ESPN also gets to televise one of the two new wild card playoff games each year and will have the rights to any tiebreaker games at the end of the regular season. Under the deal, each MLB franchise must be featured at least once per season.
“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," said Selig. "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.”