Fox Sports Extends MLB Rights Deal Through 2028

Expanded rights deal is part of Fox’s new strategy to focus on live programming

Fox Sports and Major League Baseball have extended their multiplatform-rights extension through 2028, expanding the network’s television, digital, and Spanish-language rights. Fox will retain exclusive rights for the World Series, one League Championship, two Division Series (alternating leagues each season), and the All-Star Game, as well as its Saturday regular-season broadcast windows. Beginning in 2022, Fox’s number of televised regular-season and postseason games will increase, potentially opening up the door . Terms of the deal were not disclosed

UPDATE 11/16/18: SportsBusiness Journal is reporting that the seven-year renewal is worth $5.1 billion – or $728.6M per year. That’s a 39% annual increase over Fox’s current eight-year deal worth $525M annually through 2021.

Announcement of the deal comes as Fox, which already owned MLB rights through 2021, is finalizing the sale of key assets to Disney and plotting a course to focus primarily on live sports and news coverage moving forward. According to SBJ, Fox’s push to renew its deal three years early is part of this new strategy to prioritize live programming.

Fox Sports and Fox Deportes will remain exclusive television-broadcast partners of MLB’s jewel events. The League Championship Series and Division Series coverage will remain the same as it has been since 2014. As in previous agreements, MLB Network will have the rights to two Division Series games that Fox airs.

Under the new agreement, Fox Sports continues its Saturday regular-season broadcast windows — two per Saturday (52 total) — with highlights packages as well as MLB-centric programs and Spanish-language rights through Fox Deportes.

Beginning in 2022, the number of regular-season and postseason games televised by the Fox broadcast network will increase. Fox also will televise special-event games to be determined over the term of the agreement.

Under terms of the new deal, Fox Sports will also expand its digital rights, including streaming, social media and highlights (although details were not provided). The deal also grants Fox has the rights to put games on Caffeine (the social broadcasting platform in which 21CF invested $100M a few months ago), according to SBJ’s report.

“Fox Sports has been our national television partner for over 20 years, and I could not be more pleased to announce the extension of our relationship through the 2028 season,” said MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred Jr. in the announcement.  “We value Fox Sports’ commitment to baseball and are excited to continue our partnership with this new agreement. Their innovative presentation of Major League Baseball through game telecasts and special programming across all their platforms has helped strengthen and elevate our sports’ popularity.”

Said 21st Century Fox Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch, “Since we began our historic partnership with Major League Baseball more than 20 years ago, MLB games on Fox have provided some of the most iconic moments in American sports. This significant multi-year agreement not only cements Fox’s role as Major League Baseball’s number-one broadcast partner but ensures that Fox will remain America’s leader in live sports well into the future.”

Fox Sports CEO/Executive Producer Eric Shanks noted, “Major League Baseball has been a cornerstone of Fox Sports since 1996. It’s an honor to have shared countless historic moments with our viewers over the last 22 seasons. We are extremely proud to continue to be the home of Major League Baseball’s jewel events for the next decade.”

Fox Sports has been a national MLB rightsholder since 1996 and the sport’s exclusive national broadcast partner since 2001. To date, Fox Sports has carried 21 World Series and 23 All-Star Games.

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