Major League Baseball and NBC Sports have had discussions about a possible broadcasting agreement for the 2022 season, reports Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. No deal has been finalized. If an agreement were to get across the finish line, Marchand writes that most of the games would be streamed. NBC would handle a few network broadcasts — its first in more than two decades — but the majority of the coverage would run through Peacock, NBC’s streaming service.
It marks the second possible broadcasting agreement in as many months for MLB, which come on the heels of a reduction in the number of weeknight broadcasts on ESPN. Marchand reported in mid-January the league was also in discussions with Apple that would see some games broadcast on that company’s streaming service, Apple TV+.
The Apple contract has yet to be finalized, Marchand hears, although he writes that ultimately “the expectation is that Apple and NBC would both be involved this year.” The league is targeting a combined sum in the $100MM — $150MM range between those two potential arrangements, with Apple expected to foot the majority of that bill.
Those potential broadcasting agreements are obviously set against a backdrop of broad uncertainty about the 2022 season itself. The parties are amidst their eighth straight day of collective bargaining negotiations as the lockout drags on. Latest reports cast a glimmer of hope as the sides have made some progress on key issues, but there remains plenty of ground to cover for a deal to be reached. The league has maintained that a CBA must be in place by tonight to avoid cancelation of regular season games. It remains to be seen whether late-night progress would mollify MLB’s stance, but the league expressed a willingness to lose a month’s worth of regular season contests during talks this afternoon.