MLB Rights Binge Continues as Cards, Fox Sports Midwest Ink 15-Year, $1 Billion Deal
The latest installment in a parade of lucrative MLB rights deals with regional sports networks has arrived, as the St. Louis Cardinals and FOX Sports Midwest have inked at 15-year rights deal reportedly worth $1 billion. The new agreement will begin in 2018 and run 15 seasons through the 2032 season. In addition, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the new deal provides the Cardinals with a minority stake in the network.
The deal comes on the heels of a 20-year, $1.5 billion agreement announced by the Arizona Diamondbacks and Fox Sports Arizona in February. That deal was preceded by more than half a dozen long-term, multi-million/billion dollar deals since 2010, including big money for the Angels, Dodgers, Padres, Phillies, and Yankees.
FOX Sports Midwest also announced an extension of its partnership with Ballpark Village, which includes a 2nd floor studio facing Busch Stadium and a naming rights sponsorship of FOX Sports Midwest Live! – the restaurant and entertainment venue at the heart of the project.
“We are pleased to have reached a new long-term agreement with our partners at FOX,” said Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr. “They have done an excellent job with our telecasts, and this agreement will help us remain competitive in all areas of talent acquisition, from the amateur draft and international market to the Major League payroll. It also enables continued investment by the Cardinals in Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village, and other strategic initiatives.”
FOX Sports Midwest and the Cardinals are currently in the 22nd season of their television partnership – the fifth season in which FOX Sports Midwest has served as the exclusive local TV home of the team. Under the new agreement, FOX Sports Midwest will continue to produce all locally-available Cardinals regular-season games. Cardinals’ telecasts on FOX Sports Midwest generated the highest local market television ratings in Major League Baseball in 2014, the 15th straight year in which the Cardinals ranked in MLB’s top three in local TV ratings.
“The Cardinals are one of the premier franchises in all of sports and one of the crown jewels of Major League Baseball” said FOX Sports Midwest Senior Vice President and General Manager Jack Donovan. “They have inspired loyalty in millions of fans, and we are very pleased to continue our longstanding relationship with this outstanding organization.”
FOX Sports Midwest’s Emmy Award-winning production team also produces the Cardinals Live pregame and postgame shows, spring training telecasts and shoulder programming around the Cardinals.
In connection with the transaction, the Cardinals were advised by Allen & Company, represented by Steve Greenberg.