Fox will keep Major League Baseball through 2028 courtesy of a new TV rights contract that was announced on Thursday.
The current TV rights deal was set to expire following the 2021 season, along with MLB’s two other TV partners in Turner and ESPN. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Sports Business Journal reported that it’s worth $5.1 billion over the 7 years from 2022-2028, which breaks down to roughly $728 million per year, well above the $525 million Fox currently pays. annually.
Fox Sports declined to comment on the deal’s value.
Although it’s typical for new rights agreements to be hammered out a few years early, this early renewal has the added importance of keeping one of Fox’s major TV properties in its stable while its in the middle of selling off the bulk of its assets to Disney. The Fox broadcasting network, Fox Sports 1 and Fox News will make up “New Fox,” while the rest, including its film and TV studio and cable networks FX and Nat Geo, will move over to Disney.
And live sports programming will be a major part of “New Fox,” which also include “Thursday Night Football” through 2022, and its upcoming deal with the WWE for “Smackdown Live” that starts next year. Fox has aired MLB since 1996.
“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 Rob Manfred. “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.”
The deal largely keeps the status quo in tact for Fox. It will remain the home of the World Series, All-Star Game, one League Championship Series and two Division Series. Since 2014, Fox has alternated with Turner which league’s playoff rounds it airs. For example, this past postseason, Fox aired the National League side of the playoffs, whereas in 2017 it aired the American League part. The new deal keeps that in place as well, with MLB Network continuing to get two of Fox’s Division Series round games.
Fox also continues its Saturday regular season coverage, two each Saturday for a total of 52 broadcast windows. In 2022, the Fox will increase the amount of games it puts on its broadcast network, having moved the bulk of its MLB inventory to help prop up Fox Sports 1 in recent years.
The new agreement includes expanding streaming rights and additional “special event games” that will be determined later.