Major League Baseball is closing in on new television deals with major players Fox and TBS, and it appears that Fox will be gaining a higher profile in the sport while TBS will see its role substantially cut back.
The New York Times reports that Fox will add more playoffs and regular-season games, boosting the TV company’s plan to create a new cable channel, while TBS will have fewer games in another deal.
Fox will pay "substantially more" for the rights than the average $257 million it now pays each year with its current contract, the story says. The current contract expires after next season.
Under the new deal, Fox would air two division series and add more regular-season games to its schedule of Saturday games, the World Series, the All-Star Game and one league championship series, the story notes. Some games would be aired on Fox Sports One, an overhauled version of the Speed Channel.
TBS’s games would be cut by half, with just 13 Sunday afternoon games under its new contract, compared with 26 previously, and two division series, down from four, the piece notes.
ESPN recently signed on for an eight-year deal worth $5.6 billion, representing a doubling of its annual payments to $700 million.