Jim Williams: MLB agrees to eight-year TV deal with Fox, Turner

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Major League Baseball extended its TV deals with Fox and Turner Sports through 2021. The eight-year contracts with the networks, in addition to the recent deal with ESPN, will double its overall TV rights fees to an average of about $1.55 billion annually.

The new deals are worth a total of about $12.4 billion to Major League Baseball.

"We got a wonderful new long-term deal because of the quality of the product," commissioner Bud Selig said during a conference call. "The interest in Major League Baseball has never been greater. We have had another outstanding season with close races, a possible Triple Crown winner, and we will be playing playoff games in Washington. As for the new revenue, we will split it equally between all 30 teams which is our standard practice. As for the local broadcast rights, they seem to be growing at a pace in line with our national rights fees."

While the commissioner did not comment on the Nationals and MASN dispute, according to industry sources a resolution is expected soon.

So what did the networks get for their money?

Fox will retain the rights to the World Series, the All-Star Game and one league championship series, while adding coverage of two division series starting in 2014.

Fox will also double its number of regular-season game rights on Saturdays from 26 to 52, with 12 of those exclusive to Fox and as many as 40 non-exclusive windows on another nationally distributed Fox channel, which will likely be Fox One, which could launch in January 2013.

TBS will retain the rights to air one league championship series, two division series and one wild-card game. TBS will also air afternoon games with new co-exist rights on the final 13 Sundays of the regular season. Fox and Turner will alternate each year which league's division series and league championship series games they telecast, with MLB Network airing two division series games each year from the same league as Fox.

ESPN will keep their Sunday, Monday and Wednesday packages along with the exclusive national radio rights.

Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Follow him on Twitter at wordmandc.

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