The Top MLB Broadcasting Contracts in 2021

Contract Structuring: Understanding the Basics

Major League Baseball (MLB) is the professional baseball organization that is home to 30 teams, and each team has its broadcasting rights. The broadcasting rights are sold to television and radio stations who will air the games for the fans. These broadcasting contracts are usually for a particular period, and the deal signed between the team and a broadcaster often guarantees a certain amount of money to the teams.

Contract structuring involves the relationships between teams and broadcasters regarding the financial aspects of the agreements, as well as the terms of service, production, and airtime. Historic deals, spanning the past decade, saw rights for individual and regional broadcasting rights were sold separately. However, as of late, pro teams are packing these separate rights with national rights for lucrative deals with set prices. We’re committed to providing a rich learning experience. For this reason, we recommend this external source containing more details on the topic. Examine this useful document, explore and learn more.

The Business of Baseball

The MLB is one of the largest sports associations in the world, looking at the revenue, and some of the richest deals in sports. Broadcasters, for starters, need to depict the games in an engaging way for viewers. Broadcasting licencing is a business, and there is often some marketing targeting the demographics of people who watch the games. National broadcasters in the US include Fox, ESPN, and TBS, while some teams have more specific broadcast partnerships such as the Yankees with “YES Network” and Boston Red Sox with “New England Sports Network.”

However, more small-scale broadcasters could get in on the opportunity too. Sometimes, team ownerships would sell the broadcasting rights of their games to lesser known, local broadcasters. What’s more, it is also common to find smaller radio stations without any previous association with major sports streams bidding for rights.

Notable MLB Broadcasting Contracts in 2021

As of 2021, there are five broadcasters with the rights to air baseball games in the US. These are:

  • Fox Sports: $5.1bn (2022-2028 contract)
  • MLB Network: $2.55bn (2022-2028 contract)
  • ESPN: $5.6bn (2014-2021 contract), undetermined renewal
  • Turner Sports (TBS): $3.7bn (2014-2021 contract), undetermined renewal
  • NBC Universal: Renewed and airing on Peastick, NBCSN, and the USA Network (beginning 2022)
  • Furthermore, Fox has been broadcasting baseball games since the late 1990s, and it currently has a $5.1bn contract that runs through 2028. MLB Network is a pay television network that primarily shows live baseball games, and it has several showings including live look-ins at games in progress. ESPN is the go-to sports network in the US, and while they are predominantly well-known for their basketball and football coverage, they have shown 76 MLB games this season (2021). The MLB game broadcasts on Turner Sports are shown on TBS, which has had an agreement with MLB since 2007.

    Why Broadcasting Contracts Matter in MLB

    Broadcasting deals matter a lot in MLB since they are the primary source of income for teams. The revenue generated from broadcasting rights often goes to the development of infrastructure and the training of players. While some Baseball teams enjoy individual broadcasting rights, the switch to national broadcasting rights has aided many teams and even led to the development of new ballparks and improvements in minor league facilities. Broadcasting rights are essential to MLB, as negotiations with broadcasters ensure investments and growth in the organization. Looking to deepen your knowledge on the subject? Check out this external resource we’ve prepared for you, offering additional and relevant information to expand your comprehension of the topic.


    Broadcasting in MLB is an essential element, time-honored with so much history in the game. This method of televised income generating has changed hands across the years as per business structures. A lot of work goes into the structuring of contracts and eventually airing the games, so fans can enjoy watching their favorite teams in action. Understanding the ins and outs of MLB’s broadcasting agreements is a helpful guide for baseball fans who want a glimpse into how the business flows behind the scenes.

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