Major League Baseball has extended its deal with Fox for seven years, taking it through 2028, according to a new deal inked between the Fox and the league.
“Fox Sports has been our national television partner for over 20 years and I could not be more pleased to announce the extension of our relationship through the 2028 season,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred in a statement. “We value Fox Sports’ commitment to baseball and are excited to continue our partnership with this new agreement. Their innovative presentation of Major League Baseball through game telecasts and special programming across all their platforms has helped strengthen and elevate our sports’ popularity.”
“This significant multi-year agreement not only cements Fox’s role as Major League Baseball’s number one broadcast partner, it ensures that Fox will remain America’s leader in live sports well into the future,” said Lachlan Murdoch, executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, also in a statement.
The deal includes rights across Fox Sports’ television, digital and Spanish-language platforms, including the World Series, one League Championship series each year, two Division series and MLB’s All-Star Game. Across the board, Fox Sports and Fox Deportes will gain expanded digital, streaming and social media rights.
Fox Sports also will continue to air two games on Saturdays during baseball’s regular season. That includes highlights packages, MLB-centric original programming and Spanish-language rights for Fox Deportes.
Starting in 2022, Fox Sports and Fox Deportes will gain the right to air more games each year.
Fox’s current deal with MLB is valued at $525 million per year, according to Variety, which also reports the new deal could be worth as much as $5.1 billion.
Disney’s deal to acquire most of Fox is expected to close early next year, and when that happens, Fox Broadcasting, Fox Sports and Fox News Channel will remain as a standalone company under the moniker Fox. Fox is placing a big bet on live sports and events to keep it afloat and profitable in the age of media consolidation and an overall move to on-demand and streaming programming.
To that end, earlier this year Fox acquired the Thursday Night Football package from the NFL for $3.3 billion over five years. It’s also picked up such sports and events programs as WWE wrestling, boxing and even professional bowling.
Fox Sports has been a national MLB rights-holder since 1996 and the sport’s exclusive national broadcast partner since 2001. To date, Fox Sports has carried 21 World Series and 23 All-Star Games since its inaugural national rights deal with MLB. Fox shares MLB rights with Disney-owned ESPN and AT&T-owned Turner.