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MLB lands $5bn Fox extension, DAZN deal

The Fox Sports division of US network Fox has struck a seven-year extension worth a reported $5bn (€4.41bn) to its rights deal with Major League Baseball, while the organisation is also said to have agreed a deal with streaming platform DAZN.

Fox Sports’ new deal will run through the 2028 season, with the agreement expanding its television, digital and Spanish-language rights. Fox Sports has been a national MLB rights-holder since 1996 and the sport’s exclusive national broadcast partner since 2001.

Fox Sports and Fox Deportes will maintain the television rights to MLB’s jewel events, including serving as the exclusive television broadcast partner of the World Series, one League Championship Series, two Division Series and the All-Star Game.

The network’s League Championship Series and Division Series coverage will remain the same as it’s been since 2014, alternating leagues each season. As in previous agreements, MLB Network will continue to have the rights to two games from the League’s Division Series that Fox is airing. Under terms of the new deal, Fox Sports will also expand its digital rights.

Under the new agreement, Fox Sports continues its Saturday regular-season broadcast windows – two per Saturday for 52 in total – with highlights packages as well as MLB-centric programs and Spanish-language rights through Fox Deportes. Beginning in 2022, the amount of regular season and postseason games televised by the Fox network will increase.

In addition, the new MLB and Fox agreement will include expanded streaming, social media and highlight rights. Fox also will televise special event games to be determined over the term of the agreement.

Executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, Lachlan Murdoch, said: “This significant multi-year agreement not only cements Fox’s role as Major League Baseball’s number one broadcast partner, it ensures that Fox will remain America’s leader in live sports well into the future.”

The deal was approved today (Thursday) at the MLB owners meetings in Atlanta, with the Bloomberg news agency reporting that the gathering also saw an agreement with DAZN signed off.

DAZN will make it first entry into US major league sport with a three-year deal worth $300m. Bloomberg said DAZN will produce a live show every MLB weeknight, switching between games at key moments in an offering similar to the RedZone service provided by American football league the NFL.