Cable Technology Feature Article
Outrageous Sports Deals Jeopardize Cable Television's Future
By Tabitha Naylor, Contributing Writer
Matthew Polka, the president and CEO of the American Cable Association, decried the recent TV sports deal with Major League Baseball that is so extravagant that it may significantly hike cable TV fees for many subscribers.
The recently signed contract between MLB (News - Alert) and ESPN, Fox and Turner Broadcasting was valued at $12.4 billion. In return for this amount, the three television stations, along with the MLB channel, will maintain exclusive broadcasting rights through 2021.
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The blockbuster deal may signal another escalation in the TV sports deals with other popular sports leagues like the NFL, NBA and NHL. The cost of sports deals already makes cable stations that broadcast significant amounts of sports programming, the most expensive to pay television distributors, who often pass on the costs to subscribers.
ESPN (News - Alert), which broadcasts the most sports content of any pay television station, costs subscribers $5 per month, while TNT, which broadcasts the NBA, charges $1.18 per month. Other stations without a large portion of sports programming charge considerably less to distributors.
According to publicized reports, the new deal with Major League Baseball permits Fox to continue broadcasting the All-Star Game and a league championship annually, in addition to a newly added two division series. Turner Broadcasting (News - Alert) station will air one league championship, two division and one wild card game. In return, MLB will charge Fox almost $500 million annually, while TBS will pay about $300 million per year. This is almost twice what MLB was previously charging these stations.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman