Turner Sports will continue to broadcast Major League Baseball after agreeing on an extension of rights through the 2028 season.
The seven-year agreement will enter into force in 2022 and includes a Tuesday night as well as several matches after the season. It also includes extended digital rights for Bleacher Report and other WarnerMedia platforms.
This is the second of the three rights agreements MLB has extended. It reached an extension with Fox two years ago, which also runs through 2028. Manfred said that negotiations with ESPN are underway to renew the network agreement beyond the 2021 season.
Fox and Turner deals are close, each including an increase of over 40% when they begin in 2022. Turner will pay an average of $ 470 million per season.
"Turner's baseball commitment is as strong today as it has ever been," said WarnerMedia Sports and News Chairman Jeff Zucker. "Our strategy is to present first-class live sports, and it was obvious that an extension of our agreement was an important pillar."
Although the increased playoffs have their own value, Zucker said the agreement would not have been reached if there had not been an extension of digital rights. The increased use of MLB footage and highlights for Bleacher Report may attract a younger audience, which baseball has struggled to build.
"Digital rights used to be just a language issue in contracts, but now they are material, economic rights," said Commissioner Rob Manfred. "It was with Fox, it was with ESPN, and that was important in this agreement. It is a recognition of the way the world now uses entertainment.
Turner Sports has been broadcasting baseball since 1
The new agreement includes exclusive rights to one wild card game, two of the four division series and one of the League Championship Series. Coverage will alternate between leagues each year, giving Turner the most post-season games on a network.
It also includes a seasonal weekly game on Tuesday night. Turner currently has a Sunday afternoon game during the last half of the season.
Manfred believes moving to Tuesdays gives Turner more opportunities to expand his baseball range.
"We think Sunday afternoons are not a great place to have them. Fans have a lot of other things to do, and there are two national windows on the same day," Manfred said.
Zucker also likes the window Tuesday night because there will generally be a full slate with games to choose from.
Turner is also studying his studio show, which begins with this year's AL Division Series. Ernie Johnson will anchor the show and will be joined by Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, Jimmy Rollins and newcomer Curtis Granderson. Granderson will also contribute to the Bleacher Report.
“The studio show for me is important and shows our commitment to the sport. I wanted to put our best foot forward, "said Zucker. "I definitely thought we could improve. We have the best studio host in Ernie Johnson. It will not be "Inside the NBA", but it will be its own, unique show.
Manfred said that there are provisions in the agreement if there are changes in the postseason format.
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