Tags: disney | espn | mlb | coverage

Disney's ESPN in $5.6 Billion Deal to Expand Baseball Coverage

Tuesday, 28 August 2012 02:19 PM

Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN reached a new eight-year, $5.6 billion deal with Major League Baseball, gaining rights to more games, studio programming and online coverage, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

Under the accord, the sports cable network will spend about double what it currently pays baseball annually for domestic and international TV rights, digital programming and radio coverage, said the person, who asked not to be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

ESPN, the dominant sports channel, extended its commitment to baseball as it confronts stepped-up competition from NBC and CBS cable networks and a potential new entrant from Fox. As media companies bid up the price of TV rights, cable carriers have resisted absorbing the added costs, leading to contract disputes and blackouts.

The accord, which starts in 2014, extends the Bristol, Connecticut-based programmer’s rights through 2021 and will include one annual wildcard game, a playoff matchup that baseball added this year.

Sports Business Daily reported the agreement earlier Tuesday.

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Tuesday, 28 August 2012 02:19 PM
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