TBS to televise Wild Card playoff games
MLB Network joins postseason with two Division Series contests
NEW YORK -- TBS will broadcast the one-game Wild Card playoffs this year and next, Commissioner Bud Selig announced on Thursday at the conclusion of two days of quarterly owners meetings.This year's Wild Card playoff games will be played on Friday, Oct. 5, two days after the end of the regular season. Any tie-breaker games will be played on Thursday, Oct. 4, and as has been the case since 2007, also will be aired on TBS. This is the first year there will be two Wild Card berths in each league, giving MLB 10 postseason teams. The postseason expansion, the first since 1994, was negotiated last year in the new labor agreement reached between the owners and Players Association. "This is very exciting and another good day for baseball," Selig said. "We have a 35-year history with [Turner Sports] and a great relationship with them. They've performed at every level. I'm pleased that they've gotten this. There's enormous interest in the Wild Card and these games, just enormous interest." TBS already broadcasts two Division Series and a League Championship Series in addition to 26 Sunday regular-season games. As part of the new deal, MLB Network will televise two of the possible 20 Division Series games. Turner's agreement to carry the new Wild Card playoff games runs concurrent with the length of their existing MLB broadcasting contract. "MLB postseason is an important pillar for Turner Sports," David Levy, TBS's president of sales, distribution and sports, said at the news conference. "Having the exclusive rights to the Wild Card games will act as a great launching pad for our Division Series and exclusive American League Championship Series coverage this year on TBS. "We applaud MLB and its decision to expand the eligibility for the postseason and believe the single-elimination Wild Card games will build upon the popularity of the sport and the playoffs." The winners of what MLB is calling the "win and in" Wild Card playoff games, will move on to the Division Series and meet the division winner with the best record in each league. Tim Brosnan, MLB's executive vice president of business operations, coined the phrase. For the first time, the Wild Card winner will be able to play a team from within its own division. That could create such exciting first-round matchups as Yankees-Red Sox, Giants-Dodgers and Cubs-Cardinals, among others.
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.