ESPN will double the amount it pays to Major League Baseball for cable, radio and international rights in a new eight-year deal totaling $5.6 billion, according to multiple reports.
The current deal, which runs through 2013, brings $350 million annually to MLB teams; the new deal ups that to $700 million.
The new deal is slightly different. Currently ESPN has rights to Sunday, Monday and Wednesday games; the new deal adds wild-card playoffs to the mix.
This will put some pressure on Fox and Turner Sports to up their current payments; their contracts expire after the end of the 2013 season as well, and with NBC looking to be a player in the live-sports deal as well, we could end up with four partners more than doubling the current rights total.
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