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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

TCN Blog 2015 Top Story #17: Billion Dollar TV Contract

In a vacuum, the news that the St. Louis Cardinals signed a 15-year regional broadcast contract with FOX Sports Midwest worth more than $1 billion, would place it among the very biggest stories of the year for the team.

However, the reality is that the deal, disclosed in July, is simply needed to pay the growing ante to remain competitive in Major League Baseball.

For example, a few months before the local announcement, the Arizona Diamondbacks struck their own long-term deal with FOX Sports Arizona, also for more than $1 billion. As other local/regional contracts near their conclusion, more and more such announcements are occurring.

The new agreement between the Cardinals and FOX Sports Midwest takes effect in 2018 following the completion of the current contract and will run through 2032. It extends the business relationship between the two parties to 39 years and includes the team taking an undisclosed minority stake in the network, which televises 150 games per season.

The rights fee will jump from $35 million in 2017 to $55 million in 2018 and will grow from there based on annual inflation, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Like it or not, billion-dollar regional television contracts in which clubs assume an ownership share in their network appear to be the new normal in MLB.

Link to The Cardinal Nation Blog’s top 20 stories of the year countdown

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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8 Responses to “TCN Blog 2015 Top Story #17: Billion Dollar TV Contract”

  1. blingboy says:

    Lots of fresh money in the game. How many GMs will have to chew their arm off in the morning.

  2. JumboShrimp says:

    Brian expresses misgivings about the cards getting a richer baseball contract. Other teams get such deals, “upping the ante” “like it or not.”
    In reality, the cards are a competitive business. The more income they can obtain from selling their product, the stronger they are in the long run. To compete, television revenues are essential. It’s a new mellenium and the cards are forward thinking!

    • Brian Walton says:

      Please share where I expressed “misgivings”. Also, please show how this deal is “forward thinking”. The old contract was about up and they negotiated a new one, just like any number of other clubs are doing. Business as usual.

      The “like it or not” comment was directed at those who mistakenly view the Cardinals new contract as giving the team a competitive advantage that they should use to spend more money than other comparable clubs.

      By the way, the current millennium was “new” 15 years ago. I guess this deal would have been “forward thinking” way back then, but it is not today.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        Its a significant increase, 60 percent, better than business as usual. We milk $55mm out of the same team, good times for the Dewitts.
        Plenty of dough within the game. This is not enough to dominate the labor market, but good for cayman accounts.

  3. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    There are plenty of special conditions in those contract. You do recall that the Angels couldn’t close their three Billion dollar deal until the AP signing was complete…give that some thought….. so many big player movements can be traced directly to TV deals ….. the SD Fox deal in spades….

    But the biggest of them all …….. Fox owns 80% of YES now …….. and on the other coast the Dodgers are paying 43.6m in taxes on there current payroll……. and the Yankee’s are silent pretty much……still!!! Bill may be suffering a sanctioning of his own over the Astro Gate affair…… there is a precedent…..

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