Major League Baseball is bracing for a reduction in rights fees in negotiations with ESPN on a new television contract, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (subscription required). Current discussions surround a seven-year deal that would see ESPN pay approximately $550MM per season in exchange for the right to continue to broadcast Sunday Night Baseball, the Home Run Derby, and a to-be-determined number of postseason games. As Rosenthal notes, this will be a rather significant reduction from the parties’ last rights contract, which covered eight years at $700MM per season. That’s a disappointing turn for MLB, which had picked up considerable increases in rights fees (relative to previous contracts) from both Turner and FOX in recent years.
More from around the baseball world…
- In an interview with the Kyodo News and other media outlets, Tomoyuki Sugano and agent Joel Wolfe discussed Sugano’s talks with Major League teams. Wolfe said six clubs made offers, but with just two minutes remaining before the expiration of Sugano’s 30-day posting period, the right-hander decided to remain in Japan and accept a four-year, $40MM pact from the Yomiuri Giants. “There were a lot of discussions, but none were able to convince me 100 percent,” Sugano said. “I can’t say I have no regrets about not going. I have a fire inside me and the best thing is to move forward with high expectations for myself.” Sugano believes he “needed just a little more time” to land a deal with a North American team, but felt he was hampered by both the 30-day window and the slow pace of the overall free agent market.
- The Orioles are looking to add to their rotation, with MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko reporting that the team has “Major League offers on the table to multiple starters.” There was a general assumption that Baltimore might stick to just minor league contracts as it continues its rebuild process, yet offering guaranteed deals indicates that the O’s are planning to shop at a slightly higher tier, though these MLB offers are likely still relatively inexpensive. The Orioles’ current list of rotation candidates is short on big league experience, apart from veteran Alex Cobb and (with just over two years of service time) ace John Means.
- Astros right-hander Austin Pruitt underwent elbow surgery in September and was cleared to begin throwing this week, Jake Kaplan of The Athletic reports (subscription required). Unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to immediately begin that process after subsequently testing positive for COVID-19, although Pruitt said he is suffering only minor symptoms. Pruitt is not expected to be ready to return by Opening Day but he does figure to contribute to Houston’s pitching staff at some point in 2021, Kaplan writes. After being acquired from the Rays last winter, injuries have prevented Pruitt from making his official debut in a Houston uniform.
tom brunanskys black sock
I plan on writing an epic poem about this gorgeous pie.
MLB does NOT need ESPN. they should look into all other avenues. clown show over there..
Then no more Sunday Night Baseball and ARods terrible takes. 🙁
AROD is good. They just need to show Games on ABC and get into World Series rotation with Fox and Include TBS aka CBS in rotation.
homeunderdog — baseball has solid TV viewing demographics. But what it lacks is BODIES. And the media industry has been hammered by a drop in ad revevue (pandemic).
Before you advise MLB to tell ESPN to stick it, what other TV networks are looking to spend $500 million plus per year right now on a not-made-for-TV sport that has been suffering from severely diminished television ratings for decades?
If the TV viewing demographics are as good as you say then I’m sure MLB can find another network with a different solution (deal) where both parties are satisfied with the TV revenues. There are other ways and other networks that can get this done if they are willing to think outside the box.
ESPN’s tv shows focus on Football and Basketball. Time for baseball to find a new home.
Baseball has a “home”. It’s called the MLB Network. If “focus on baseball” were the issue, MLB Network’s games wouldn’t be in the ratings gutter looking up at ESPN, Fox & Turner. ESPN’s so-called “focus” on football and basketball is the typical fake-speak baseball diehards use to defend baseball’s national TV ratings issues.
You didn’t follow. It’s ok.
MLBN is also on a ridiculous tier on most cable/satellite systems where you have to pay $30-50 more per month to get the cadillac channel package to even qualify for it. ESPN has the benefit of being pretty much lowest tier because of it’s longevity and previous reputation. If MLBN had access to the lowest tier, their ratings would be much higher.
“Its longetivity,” not “it is longevity.”
Espn and it’s political driven nonsense.. Go away for good..
As for the drop in source revenue from ESPN? Big deal.. Many teams make a bundle from having their own local broadcasting rights.. That is teams worth watching do.
As long as those teams band together and stop the league from forcing them to give away part of that money to teams that nobody wants to see as charity? Fine with me.
JohnSilver, that’s not going to happen.
“Its political…,” not “it is political….”
Espn can just show cornhole and spike ball instead of Yankees red Sox.
MLB needs to walk away from ESPN entirely.
Walk away from half a billion a year to broadcast/advertise your product on a highly viewed network? Great business savvy idea there yikes
I read from japanese newspaper that Sugano agent probably asking for a contract that valued more than Yusei Kikuchi got from Mariners (34M/3yrs). Thats understandable because Sugano is far better from Kikuchi. Sugano production in Japan is similar with Kenta Maeda but he have a better control than Maeda.
Most of MLB teams probably offered lower than Sugano expected, which is why he choose to re-sign with Yomiuri and try again next year with the hope the MLB financial condition is going to do well again..
P.S: Sorry for my bad english. English is not my native language
Wish I could speak another language as well as you do.
I agree with the greatest batting stance that included a magnificent Afro.
The Orioles are going to need starters to get through this season. Assuming it’s a 120+ game stretch. Glad to hear they’re putting some sort of effort out to make it happen. Kremer and Akin showed some positive signs last year but depth is definitely needed. Don’t know who the 5th guy would be if the season began today and it’ll likely be mid season til we see Baumann or Lowther.
Currently it would probably he Zimmerman or Lopez that would get the 5th spot if the season started today.
Most pitchers are not looking at Baltimore in rebuild mode as a first choice and even fewer on a minor league contract.
Likely the players that they sign would have been expected to sign a minor league contract.
Ed "The Mythical One"
The only guys the O’s will get are the players that don’t get better options elsewhere, will get a chance to start, and an opportunity to prove they can still pitch/or are healthy again to bump up their value for next season.
I think Baltimore is a up n coming team. Adding a few veteran pitchers to help the young guys along and take the pressure of them to succeed right away is a smart move.
Finally someone else besides me that thinks the Orioles are up and coming. They are young but they do have a lot of talent in Mountcastle, DJ Stewart, Sanchez and the pitching staff.
Ed "The Mythical One"
Mountcastle is a glorified DH, much like a lot of their defensive players and I think once the leauge catches up to him he’s worthless. He strikes out a lot. He doesn’t walk. Sound familiar? Because that’s like every other power hitter on this team. His high BA is heavily dependent upon a very high BABIP which is not sustainable for most ball players.
Stewart is nothing special and keeps getting injured.
Their pitching is trash. They don’t sign the right guys and they don’t know how to develop arms.
Stewart sucks and Yolmer is a defensive placeholder with no immediate replacement, but the Orioles now-to-near-term future talent includes Austin Hays, Dean Kremer and relievers Hunter Harvey, Tanner Scott and failed starter Dillion Tate with Michael Baumann and Yusniel Diaz likely being called up for this first time this season. Maybe Keegan Akin will settle into a role and Zac Lowther or Alex Wells will get a few chances.. Following them should be Adley Rutschman and Grayson Rodriguez, maybe in 2022. After that they have last year’s first rounders Heston Kjerstad, Gunnar Henderson, possibly Jordan Westburg, possibly even Terrin Vavra or Darrel Hernaiz or Anthony Servideo.. They have some good talent on the visible horizon.
Mountcastle is not trash. He will probably compete for ROY in the AL. What is your team old mythical one? Most likely a garbage team that you and everyone else has overrated
You are right. There are tons of young arms coming in the next two years to be excited about, along with Means, Kremer & Akin who are already here.
Ed has a point in the outfield being over crowded. I like all of them though Santander, Mancini, Mountcastle, Mullins and Hays, not so much DJ Stewart. I think that we have yet to see the real Austin Hays yet outside of September 19′. He dealt with a lot of adversity last year and finished it off pretty well. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if he ends up being a lead off. 300AVG 25HR guy.
The infield is a mess outside of 1B, but Rutschman should be up soon and there are a lot of really nice guys on the farm a year or two away (Henderson, Westburg, Adam Hall, Herneiz, Servideo)
Ed "The Mythical One"
That’s not what they are doing.
An up and coming team that refuses to dump the black hole of a roster spot that is Chris Davis. If Elias was truly in charge, he’d be gone by now.
A team that doesn’t have even an adequate starting left side defense. Rio Ruiz at 3B? They still don’t have a starting SS.
They have an overcrowded OF with no true CF’er and a couple of DH’s forced to play out there because 1B is already stuffed full of a waste of a roster spot or another DH.
You probably can’t understand that the Orioles saved multi-millions by not cutting Chris Davis before the season started. They weren’t going to try to compete, so the smarter strategy was not to spend as much money as they would have if they had released him in Spring Training.
Ed "The Mythical One"
The Orioles are consistently terrible because even when they have the offensive players to compete, they still cheap out on the pitching. When they do finally decide to spend, they do so on the Ubaldo Jimenez’s and Alex Cobb’s of the world. Then they use this to defend not spending on pitching.
Hopefully Elias is around long enough to turn this thing around and spend wisely. Peter Angelos is getting a bit too old now to be as meddlesome as he once was, but with this ownership group which has had the sons of Angelos also getting involved in everything, I will wait to see before I believe what they say.
Nobody can take what you say seriously when you blurt out such stupid, easily unproven butt leakage as the “Orioles are consistently terrible.”
They really shouldn’t allow children and teens on this site.
If a reduction in rights fees is what finally causes them to fix their product which is essentially a three true outcomes contest, I’m all for it.
stan lee the manly
ESPN has turned into a poor choice for sports programming anyways, just cut them and use your other primary stations. Fox has been a much better option
If Fox or any other network would offer to either come close to or out bid ESPN, then MLB would jump in a heartbeat. Obviously they do not have a suited to pay what ESPN is willing to pay.
MLB already has a contract with FOX. As a matter of fact, the new contract with ESPN will fall in line with what FOX is paying.
MLB already has a contract with FOX, agreed. But what “stan lee the manly” above suggested was that baseball cut out ESPN and turn that package to FOX. Do you think at this point that FOX would be willing to pay $550 million in addition to their current package and rights fees to acquire the rights package from ESPN?
MLB should have to pay anyone who televises the HR Derby. Absolutely boring.
tom brunanskys black sock
Mlb should pay US to watch it.
What is crazy is the home run derby is so exciting in person and it’s absolutely horrible to watch on tv.
It comes from years and years of listening to Chris Berman yelling “Back, back, back!!” for two hours straight.
It must get a decent viewership. If no one were tuning in (and no one were watching the commercials on it), do you think that ESPN would be paying these rights fees to televise it?
Cut ties with ESPN. If you aren’t a Yankees or Red Sox or Mets fan; ESPN is garbage.
The total value of the contract is going down but ESPN is actually going to show less games. So the per game value of the contract is going up. MLB can then make a deal with another provider to cover those lost games and make even more money. MLB wants the fans and the players to think that they are poor so the owners can drive salaries down
Right, each team will make $60 million per year from FOX, Turner, and ESPN for seven years. Add in $10 million per year from DAZN for the next three years.
Correction, that’s total not per year for DAZN.
I would be curious to see what the giants offered – was really hoping he would get picked up to be a stable rotation piece through the rebuild –
Can’t see the O’s making much of a push to appreciably improve the pitching; they’ve been decidedly non-aggressive in their overall approach. I think they prefer to wait for the talent from their system (and the talent is certainly there) to bubble up.
But of course, that presumes the Yanks and Jays, Rays and Red Sox will remain stagnant…. in other words, it’s silly. Lots of marketing about “tomorrow”.
Ed "The Mythical One"
The talent is certainly there? Where?
In the minors, Moe-Ron! Pay attention, son., or don’t chime in when the adults are talking.
I think it would be the wrong move for the Orioles to spend millions of dollars on long term deals to pitching at this point. It has to be developed in house. We aren’t at the point where we’ve seen enough of those guys develop yet to try to supplement it with long term deals. Anything given should be short. There aren’t too many values on the FA pitching market.
If you run into a Sonny Gray or Lance Lynn—you’re extremely lucky. Most of the time you get left with an Ubaldo Jimenez, Phil Hughes or Alex Cobb.
Don’t despair. If Cobb has anything left, a contract year is a good time to get to it. Flip-able at the deadline (as long as they cover the deferrals).
Some bottom feeding (Archer et al) might be worth a shot. But I completely agree long-termers are a waste; spare me the 1 or 2 Scherzer-s that come along. They’re better off waiting; I really like their farm; ma boy Gunner’s gonna be a star. . But they can pick up some wins in what, frankly, is a weakening AL East. You’ll never get back the money you lose when you drop 300-400 K in attendance. And you hurt the brand, which in your town is HUGE.
Everybody talks about the Fenway loonies, but I’ve been to Camden…they’re just as loony.
I trying to think who the Orioles would be willing to sign? Maybe bring back the other 2 veterans they had last year(can not remember their name). Maybe Williams from Pittsburgh?
Cashman was good, and he liked Baltimore.
Kluber to Baltimore!
If ESPN wants to pay less then give them less games. Or scrap them all together. Make a deal with one of the other networks. I know a lot of people who don’t have ESPN and are not about to pay for it just to watch Sunday night baseball. Put it on a free cable network and more people will watch.
I mean over the air not cable network.
Aside from FOX, the other major over the air networks abandoned MLB broadcast rights decades ago.
MLB needs cable partners who will consistently program games in primetime, which is often easier said than done.
Get rid of ARod and pair Vasgersian with a better analyst. The only thing ARod brings to the table is annoying in game interruptions by JLo. Even though I’m a Red Sox fan i would cut the number of Yankees/Red Sox, Cubs/Cardinals, Giants/Dodgers games to one or two each per season. The NFL doesn’t flood MNF or SNF with the same matchups over and over again. Show other teams to generate more national interst in the other 24 teams in the league. And lastly keep the political opinions out. People watch sports to escape all that. ESPN is killing themselves with all of the news magazine shows they have that actually have little to do with sports anymore
I am probably in the minority but Arod doesn’t bother me. The political stuff does though. It doesn’t matter if I agree with their opinions or not. I just don’t want to hear it. I really don’t care what any actor singer athlete or tv persons opinion is on anything. As their employer I would be disappointed with them saying or doing anything. They are paid to entertain paying customers. When they say or do something they are turning off 50 percent of their customers.
The O’s seeking veteran pitching makes sense. Andrew Cashman performed well for them last year and could do so again. He liked pitching in Baltimore. Find 2 veteran pitchers and fill the remaining 3 spots with Kremer, Cobb, and Means. Allow the young talent to continue to develop without pressure. When they’re ready, find a trade partner and move the veterans. Depth is needed.