07/11/2006 6:36 PM ET
MLB, FOX, and Turner reach new television agreements
Seven-year deals extend through the 2013 season; FOX to expand regular season coverage; TBS to air Sunday games and the Division Series
Major League Baseball has reached agreements with FOX Broadcasting Company and Turner Broadcasting System on comprehensive new over-the-air and cable television rights packages through the 2013 season, it was announced today.
As part of the new agreement, FOX will continue to maintain the exclusive annual rights to the All-Star Game and the World Series. Game 1 of the World Series will now be scheduled to take place on the first Tuesday after the completion of the League Championship Series. The network will broadcast the American League Championship Series in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 and the National League Championship Series in 2008, 2010 and 2012.
The network will also expand its "FOX Saturday Baseball Game of the Week" coverage to up to 26 weeks per season, an increase from 18 weeks in the previous agreement. The new regular season FOX schedule will give Major League Baseball a "Game of the Week" on broadcast television from April through September for the first time since 1989. FOX will also continue to telecast the weekly show, "This Week in Baseball," produced by Major League Baseball Productions.
"Major League Baseball is very pleased to announce these new agreements with FOX Sports and Turner Sports," said Major League Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "These agreements are another indication that baseball today is more popular than at any time in its history. FOX has been a wonderful partner. They have demonstrated a great commitment to the game and we are delighted to continue our excellent relationship."
"FOX has enjoyed 11 terrific years as the broadcast home of Major League Baseball, having covered some of the game's most memorable moments," said Fox Networks Group President/CEO Tony Vinciquerra. "Baseball is as popular today as ever...with new young stars and veteran players performing before hundreds of millions of fans in-person and on TV each year. The schedule this agreement will provide enables FOX to combine the most-watched games of the year with the No. 1 prime-time lineup in America."
Under the TBS agreement, TBS will telecast all regular season tie-breaker games, all Division Series games and the All-Star Game Selection Show each year. In addition, beginning in 2008, TBS will telecast a window of Major League Baseball games on 26 Sunday afternoons. TBS will continue to air Atlanta Braves' games through the 2007 season, a year in which that contract and the new deal will co-exist.
Commissioner Selig said: "We are also extremely pleased to expand our relationship with Turner Sports, an innovative leader in sports broadcasting. Turner Sports has long been familiar to baseball fans, and we are excited that their coverage will now extend to all of our Clubs in the regular season, particularly on Sunday afternoons and for any potential tie-breaker games that will impact the postseason. Their exclusive coverage of the Division Series will be a fantastic way for baseball fans to begin each October."
"Our company has valued our MLB partnership for more than three decades, and this deal will make it four decades and beyond," says Turner Sports President David Levy. "We're very pleased to be the first cable network to exclusively air MLB Playoff games, and having all of the Division Series air on one single network (TBS) for the first time ever, this package clearly fits Turner Sports focus on top quality sports properties."
The agreements with FOX Sports and Turner Sports are both subject to ratification by the Major League Clubs.