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.
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.
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