Turner Sports Re-Ups MLB Rights Deal Through 2028, Adds Tuesday-Night Game Franchise
The seven year deal includes the most postseason games of any network and boosts Turner's MLB digital rights
WarnerMedia’s Turner Sports has inked a seven-year multimedia rights extension with Major League Baseball spanning from 2022 through 2028. The new deal includes the most MLB Postseason games of any network, a new season-long Tuesday night game franchise, and expansive digital rights for Bleacher Report and additional WarnerMedia platforms.
Update 9/25/20: The seven-year media rights is worth $535 million per year through ’28 and more than $3.7 billion overall, according to SportsBusiness Journal. Turner now pays an average of $325 million a year under an eight-year deal that expires after the ’21 season, meaning the extension represents about a 65% increase in value.
A New Tuesday Night MLB Franchise
TBS’s season-long Tuesday night franchise will include a new studio show anchored by five-time Sports Emmy Award-winning host Ernie Johnson with Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, World Series Champion Jimmy Rollins, and a newcomer in three-time All-Star Curtis Granderson. The new studio team will debut during this year’s MLB Postseason beginning with the American League Division Series. Granderson will have a multi-dimensional role with Turner Sports that will also include creative contributions to Bleacher Report.
The new season-long TBS Tuesday night package with a national game telecast each week will double the amount of live regular-season game telecasts currently airing on TBS.
“Our new MLB deal and season-long Tuesday night franchise present us with an opportunity to evolve our vision for the MLB studio show,” says Craig Barry, Chief Content Officer, Turner Sports. “This collection of studio talent will allow us to combine expert analysis with storytelling that is dynamic, informative, and entertaining for our viewers.”
TBS Stays in the MLB Postseason Game
Beginning with the 2022 MLB season, TBS will exclusively televise one League Championship Series each year of the agreement, alternating between the ALCS and NLCS each season. TBS will have exclusive rights to televise two of the four MLB Division Series, which will alternate between AL and NL each year (featuring the same league as the network’s LCS coverage). TBS will carry one Wild Card Game, which will be consistent with the network’s Division Series and LCS coverage (AL or NL each year).
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred also told USA Today that there are provisions in the deal if there are changes in the postseason format.
Turner Sports, Bleacher Report Boost MLB Digital Rights Portfolio
The cross-platform agreement includes digital rights across a wide spectrum of screens and platforms including mobile, web, tablets, and connected devices. The agreement also includes TV Everywhere rights that will allow TBS to make its MLB games and related programming available to authenticated subscribers across Turner Sports platforms. In addition, Turner Sports websites and apps, including Bleacher Report, will have increased footage and highlight rights. Finally, Turner Sports will have rights to create companion and ancillary products related to the TBS broadcast of regular and postseason games.
New Deal Brings Turner Sports, MLB Marriage to Five Decades
The multimedia rights agreement will extend the partnership between Turner Sports and MLB to more than 50 years. The partnership represents one of the longest-running relationships between a media company and league in the history of televised sports, dating back to 1973 when MLB games were first televised on WTCG (now TBS).
“We’re delighted to extend our long-standing relationship with Major League Baseball and all of the opportunities this agreement offers us as we broaden our coverage of the game across all of our platforms,” says Jeff Zucker, Chairman, WarnerMedia News & Sports. “We will continue to further evolve our multiplatform delivery of content with a focus on storytelling and innovation in all forms.”
“As we prepare for another year of exciting October baseball, I am proud Turner Sports will continue to be a part of the Postseason as we expand on this long-term partnership,” says Manfred. “This agreement positions both organizations for mutual growth by continuing Postseason coverage on TBS, delivering a new Tuesday night Baseball franchise, and expanding baseball’s presence on Turner Sports’ digital platforms.”