WarnerMedia’s Turner Sports and Major League Baseball have achieved a seven-year extension of rights through 2028, with HBO Max potentially a future game broadcast venue.
While partners didn’t comment on the deal’s valuation, it was reported to be $ 3.75 billion, or $ 535 million per year.
The re-up will keep the games on TBS, a long-time MLB broadcaster with particular importance in the postseason. As part of the new agreement, TBS will add a game franchise for Tuesday night’s season and add digital rights to the Bleacher Report as well as the official announcement entitled “Additional WarnerMedia Platforms”.
One such platform is HBO Max, which launched in May and got off to a sluggish start. An ad-supported tier of the subscription service is slated to roll out in 2021, and executives have announced that it will include live sports and news. Details of these offers are not yet known and a representative declined to elaborate on the announcement.
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Bleacher Report’s B / R Live streaming service like DC Universe and FilmStruck has been eliminated from the parent company, but the brand remains a powerful online and social media engine. It will gain access to additional footage and highlight rights under the renewed contract.
NBCUniversal’s peacock, which was launched with HBO Max, has sports as an important part of its offering. It has aired US Open golf, NHL hockey, Premier League football and will have an NFL playoff game in January.
For WarnerMedia, the deal has a lot of implications for linear TV lineup. On Tuesday night, Ernie Johnson will host a studio show on TBS with former players Pedro Martinez, Jimmy Rollins and Curtis Granderson.
This gives TBS an accompanying programming element for TNT’s weekday NBA coverage. While TNT and TBS have made strides in their original programming over the past few years, like other cable networks, they are facing strong headwinds as viewership and advertising revenue decline. Development and programming activities that were once earmarked for the networks are expected to be moved towards HBO Max.
Under the new contract, TBS has the exclusive right to televise a league championship series that alternates between the American and national leagues, in addition to wildcard and division rounds.
The digital rights include TV Everywhere Streaming, which allows pay-TV subscribers to stream games over authenticated Turner Sports platforms.
“We are excited to expand our longstanding relationship with Major League Baseball and all of the opportunities this agreement offers us as we expand our coverage of the game across all of our platforms,” said Jeff Zucker, chairman of WarnerMedia News & Sports . “We will continue to develop our cross-platform content delivery with an emphasis on storytelling and innovation in all forms.”
The Turner-MLB partnership dates back to 1973 when the Atlanta Braves games aired on WTCG, which over time became TBS. Turner Broadcasting founder Ted Turner used Braves broadcasts as a key element in scaling his “superstation” in the 1970s, the dawn of the cable television age.
“As we prepare for another year of exciting October baseball, I am proud that Turner Sports will continue to be part of the postseason as we build this long-term partnership,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. “This agreement positions both organizations for mutual growth by continuing TBS post-season coverage, delivering a new baseball franchise Tuesday night, and expanding baseball’s presence on Turner Sports’ digital platforms.”