Skip to content

ESPN signs an eight-year, $5.6 billion deal to keep baseball

Aug 28, 2012, 9:33 AM EDT

old TV

We talked about lucrative local TV rights yesterday. Let’s talk national: ESPN just agreed to pay Major League Baseball nearly double what it’s paying now to keep baseball rights through 2021:

ESPN has agreed to a deal that locks down MLB rights into the next decade, according to several sources. The eight-year deal is worth $5.6B (an average of $700M per year), approximately doubling the nearly $306M ESPN currently pays MLB every year for domestic TV rights.

That includes digital, radio and, for the first time, the playoffs: one wild card game. Otherwise the deal is basically the same: Sunday Night Baseball and Monday and Wednesday night games.

The current deals with ESPN, Fox and TBS are in place through the end of the 2013 season. As the New York Times reported in July, there is a frenzy afoot, with those three outlets still wanting to keep their games, plus NBC wanting to get in on the action. Clearly those remaining will be in frenzied bidding for the Saturday and Sunday afternoon games, the postseason and any other national products that may be added over and above what exists now.

That’s a recipe for skyrocketing rights fees. And we just saw the first rocket launched.

UPDATE: Putting this money in perspective. Short version: windfall.

Latest Posts
  1. Ryan Raburn: you are not supposed to spike the baseball, dude

    Jul 25, 2014, 7:17 AM EDT

    Raburn spike

    Ryan Raburn is gonna be buying Corey Kluber steaks for the foreseeable future.

  2. And That Happened: Thursday’s scores and highlights

    Jul 25, 2014, 6:47 AM EDT

    Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 6.46.57 AM Getty Images

    It was a day of blowouts and fine pitching performances.

  3. Report: Yankees talking to Padres about a deal for Ian Kennedy

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:19 PM EDT

    f9709064dc0d3dbba119326284ff6ded AP

    The Yankees are reportedly considering a reunion with right-hander Ian Kennedy.

  4. Jonathan Papelbon to Phillies fans: Bring on the boos

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:18 PM EDT

    201b75e51f895253777b6c9537344e55 Getty Images

    Jonathan Papelbon was booed by Phillies fans this afternoon, but it didn’t bother him. In fact, he says bring it on.

  5. The Astros are hesitant to trade Chad Qualls

    Jul 24, 2014, 10:20 PM EDT

    Chad Qualls Getty Getty Images

    Chad Qualls quietly owns a 1.78 ERA this season. The Astros are reluctant to deal him.

  6. Picture of the Day: Dallas Keuchel has a clever message for a heckler

    Jul 24, 2014, 9:25 PM EDT

    Dallas Keuchel AP AP

    Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel tossed a baseball to a heckler during today’s game against the Athletics. And the ball contained a clever message.

  7. MLBPA files grievance against Astros in regard to draft pick situation

    Jul 24, 2014, 8:30 PM EDT

    astros logo

    When the Astros failed to agree to terms with No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken earlier this month, many speculated that the next step would be a grievance against the team from the MLBPA. That’s exactly what has happened.

  8. The Mariners are interested in Drew Stubbs

    Jul 24, 2014, 7:35 PM EDT

    Drew Stubbs Getty Getty Images

    The Mariners brought back Kendrys Morales in a deal with the Twins today, but they aren’t done attempting to upgrade.

  9. Report: Phillies “working hard” to trade Ryan Howard

    Jul 24, 2014, 7:09 PM EDT

    Ryan Howard AP AP

    The Phillies appear ready to move on from Ryan Howard.

  10. Yankees acquire left-hander Chris Capuano from the Rockies

    Jul 24, 2014, 6:31 PM EDT

    Chris Capuano Getty Getty Images

    Yankees general manager Brian Cashman continues to stay busy.

  11. Zach Putnam lands on disabled list with shoulder inflammation

    Jul 24, 2014, 6:13 PM EDT

    Zach Putnam AP

    Zach Putnam has had a share of the closer role with the White Sox in recent weeks, but now he’s headed to the 15-day disabled list due to right shoulder inflammation.

  12. Fractured fibula likely to keep Astros prospect Carlos Correa from Arizona Fall League

    Jul 24, 2014, 5:47 PM EDT

    Carlos Correa AP

    Before the injury Correa was having an excellent season, hitting .325 with 20 steals in 62 games at high Single-A as a 19-year-old.

  13. Ryan Howard does not seem too happy about platooning

    Jul 24, 2014, 5:32 PM EDT

    ryan howard getty Getty Images

    It’s been bad in Philly. Is it starting to get ugly?

  14. Masahiro Tanaka “is still reporting discomfort in his elbow”

    Jul 24, 2014, 5:10 PM EDT

    Masahiro Tanaka AP AP

    Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka is supposed to rest for six weeks before doctors determine if he needs Tommy John elbow surgery, but 10 days into the process things aren’t going well.

  15. The eyes have it: Thomas’ greatness built on patience

    Jul 24, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT

    140724-frank-thomas-1000 Getty Images

    Frank Thomas is headed to the Hall of Fame thanks to his legendary batting eye.

  16. Expert’s Corner: How to troll fans of all 30 teams

    Jul 24, 2014, 3:45 PM EDT

    Sad Phillies fans

    Everyone has a gift. This is my gift. I shall now share it with you.

  17. Chuck Knoblauch arrested, accused of assaulting ex-wife

    Jul 24, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Chuck Knoblauch

    According to K-HOU television in Houston the 46-year-old Knoblauch has been charged with assault of a family member, Cheri Knoblauch, whom he divorced in 2012.

  18. Mariners re-acquire Kendrys Morales from Twins for Stephen Pryor

    Jul 24, 2014, 2:51 PM EDT

    Kendrys-Morales-Twins Getty Images

    Kendrys Morales had a good first week for the Twins after sitting out the first two months of the season and then signing a one-year, $7.5 million deal in June, but he’s been horrendous since then while hitting .209 with one homer and a .524 OPS in 33 games.

Featured video

Managers get easier path to Cooperstown
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. H. Street (3473)
  2. T. Tulowitzki (3135)
  3. C. Headley (2796)
  4. H. Ramirez (2684)
  5. Y. Puig (2676)
  1. R. Howard (2539)
  2. C. Lee (2476)
  3. B. Belt (2468)
  4. M. Trout (2225)
  5. A. Rios (2153)