Philadelphia Phillies Sign New Local TV Deal, Detroit Tigers Have To Wait


Oct 16, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; General view of Comerica Park before game four of the American League Championship Series baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox. Mandatory Credit: Angie Walton-USA TODAY Sports

According to Sports Buisness Daily, the Philadelphia Phillies have become the latest team to sign a large, long term contract for their local TV broadcasting rights.

That’s a $2.5 billion commitment from Comcast SportsNet (if you’re keeping score at home) that will apparently cover the 2016-2041 seasons. It’s crazy to even think about the live sports media landscape that far into the future – I can’t imagine television and cable packages will even look remotely similar to the way they operate now.

Philadelphia isn’t getting the same type of deal the Los Angeles Dodgers recently agreed to – one that will pay them $7+ billion dollars over 25 years – but it’s a hefty sum compared to some of the older, less lucrative deals that are still floating around the game.

According to a Crain’s Detroit Business article in May of last year, teams have to give up roughly 31% of their broadcast rights fees to the MLB revenue sharing, meaning the Phillies will net roughly $69 million per season when this new deal kicks in. Combine that with the new national deals that Major League Baseball has signed with FOX, ESPN, and TBS, and the Phillies could be looking at approximately $145 million in revenue (per season) on TV rights alone.

The Tigers current television deal with Fox Sports Detroit (also according to that same Crain’s Detroit Buisness piece) reportedly pays them $50 million annually. Subtracting out the portion that goes to revenue sharing and add in the national money, and the Tigers are looking at some $110 million per season in television contracts. That’s no pittance, but the Tigers would probably like to be getting a bit more, especially since they reportedly have the highest local TV ratings in baseball.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, they’ll have to wait (at least) a few more seasons before they can re-negotiate their deal. It’s difficult to nail down the exact terms of the current deal, but most outlets (like the aforementioned Crain’s Detroit article) list the current contract as expiring in 2018 (though some say it goes as far out as 2022).

Detroit isn’t likely to get an LA-sized deal either, but something near (or even exceeding) the Phillies’ $100 million AAV isn’t out of the question. For now, though, the Tigers must sit back and wait for the big payday.