Shop Fantasy Central Golf Guide Email Travel Subscribe SI About Us Baseball - MLB Fantasy All-Time Stats Minors College World Baseball

 
  U.S. SPORTS
  baseball
scores
probables
schedules
standings
stats
injuries
transactions
salaries
players
teams
scoreboards
pro football S
col. football S
pro basketball S
m. college bb S
w. college bb S
hockey S
golf plus S
tennis S
soccer S
motor sports
olympic sports
women's sports
more sports
 WORLD SPORT

EVENTS
 Sportsman of the Year
 Heisman Trophy
 Swimsuit 2001

CENTERS
 Fantasy Central
 Inside Game
 Multimedia Central
 Statitudes
 Your Turn
 Message Boards
 Email Newsletters
 Golf Guide
 Cities
 Work in Sports

CNNSI.com GROUP
 Sports Illustrated
 Life of Reilly
 Television
 SI Women
 SI for Kids
 Press Room
 TBS/TNT Sports
 CNN Languages

COMMERCE
 SI Customer Service
 SI Media Kits
 Get into College
 Sports Memorabilia
 TeamStore

Plate coverage

Fox lands exclusive TV rights to postseason baseball

Click here for more on this story
Latest: Wednesday September 27, 2000 01:16 PM

 

NEW YORK (AP) -- Get ready to call Fox "The Baseball Channel."

Fox wrested exclusive TV rights to major league baseball's postseason and All-Star game from 2001-2006 as part of a package worth about $2.5 billion.

The network will also retain its regular-season game of the week.

"We at major league baseball could not be happier with the result," baseball commissioner Bud Selig said. "They have been a good partner and an innovative producer of our games."

With the new Fox contract averaging about $417 million, and the remainder of ESPN's regular-season contract averaging $152 million, the two deals give baseball an average of about $570 million per season, or $19 million for each of the 30 teams.

The $570 million represents an increase of 50 percent from the $380 million baseball averaged the past five years from its contracts with ESPN and its five-year deals with Fox and NBC, which expire after the World Series.

Baseball originally hoped to capitalize on the recent trend of escalating sports rights fees by tripling its TV contracts.

NBC and ESPN, which like ABC is owned by Walt Disney Co., declined to match Fox's offer for their postseason packages by Tuesday's deadline.

NBC, which will lose baseball for the second time in 12 years, said it passed on keeping its rights. The network broadcast the sport from 1947 through 1989, often as baseball's sole national network, then renewed the relationship in 1994.

ESPN spokesman Mike Soltys would not comment on whether the cable channel decided to keep its playoffs rights. A baseball official, speaking on the condition he not be identified, confirmed ESPN passed, saying the decision was partly based on price and partly because ABC wasn't interested in the network package.

ESPN began an $800 million, six-year regular season contract this season, with about $40 million attributed to this year.

Gaining the relative ratings boost from the league championship series and World Series meant more to Fox than the other broadcast networks.

Fox had the biggest prime-time ratings decline of the four major networks during the 1999-2000 season. Its average prime-time audience of 8.97 million was down 17 percent from the year before, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The last time one broadcast network owned the full baseball package was 1990-93, when CBS lost hundreds of millions of dollars in a $1.057 billion deal, partly because of a steep decline in ratings and partly because of a national recession.

Under the expiring arrangement, Fox and NBC split the league championships and alternated televising the All-Star game and World Series. Now Fox will have the TV rights to all of those events for six seasons, in addition to its regular-season rights.

The extra load of first-round playoff games could be eased by shifting some to cable channel Fox Sports Net.

In June, Fox rejected baseball's demand that the network increase its yearly payments from $120 million to $360 million, while NBC declined to up its payments from $80 million to $240 million.

Those decisions allowed baseball to try to sell its rights on the open market. But CBS and ABC weren't interested in buying the rights at the prices baseball was offering.

The pattern of rising rights fees began in 1997 when the NBA agreed to four-year deals with NBC ($1.75 billion) and Turner Broadcasting ($890 million) for $2.64 billion -- more than double the league's previous deals.

In 1998, the NFL doubled its take by agreeing to contracts with CBS, Fox and Disney totaling $17.6 billion over eight years.

In November, Fox joined with NBC and TBS to win the bidding for NASCAR's TV rights. That deal is worth about $400 million a year, roughly four times what NASCAR made under its previous package.

Later that month, CBS held on to the NCAA basketball tournament by more than doubling its payments with an $11 billion, six-year contract that goes into effect in 2003.


 
Related information
Stories
Fox bids big for postseason TV package
Multimedia
Visit Multimedia Central for the latest audio and video
Search our site Watch CNN/SI 24 hours a day
Sports Illustrated and CNN have combined to form a 24 hour sports news and information channel. To receive CNN/SI at your home call your cable operator or DirecTV.

Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


CNNSI Copyright © 2001
CNN/Sports Illustrated
An AOL Time Warner Company.
All Rights Reserved.

Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.