Although they’re not likely to match the high water mark of the era set by the Los Angeles Dodgers – 25 years and $8.5 billion, or an average of $340 million per season ($2.1 million per game) – the Philadelphia Phillies have finally inked their big money television contract.
“We’re pleased to confirm that NBCUniversal and Comcast SportsNet have signed a new long-term deal with the Philadelphia Phillies that will expand Comcast SportsNet’s role as the Phillies’ primary TV partner,” Comcast SportsNet’s Senior Director of Communications Maureen Quilter said in a statement (Philly.com). “Although the terms of the comprehensive deal are confidential, details surrounding the 2014 schedule of games will be provided in the coming months.”
The Courier Times reports that the deal will be in the 20 to 25-year range, for a “massive” amount of money. As I said, it’s not going to match the Dodgers’ deal, but, once you get past the $1 million per game range, you’ve got plenty of money to push the luxury tax cap every year if you want. The deal is set to extend the Phillies’ current deal (which pays them just $35 million per season or so), which was going to expire in 2015. If the Phillies are to continue spending huge money on the worst free agents/extensions, they will need this deal.
This is where you are reminded of the Cubs’ current TV deal situation:
- The rights to approximately 70 games are contracted to WGN through the 2014 season.
- The rights to the remaining games are contracted to CSN (part-owned by the Ricketts Family) through the 2019 season.
- The Cubs are rumored to receive about $300,000 per game for the WGN games. (I say “rumored,” because the Cubs have never publicly confirmed their TV dollars.)
- The Cubs are rumored to receive about $500,000 per game for the CSN games.
- In total, the Cubs are rumored to receive about $65 million per year for their TV broadcast rights through 2014. After the 2014 season, the Cubs will presumably receive a bump in the rights fees for the 70 games currently contracted to WGN, but don’t expect a suitor to shell out millions of dollars per game for just 70 games (many of which are during the day) and for just five years (the Cubs will want the full slate of games to be available after 2019, when the CSN deal runs out).
- Best case scenario? The Cubs strike a good deal for that five-year bridge period on the 70 WGN games ($800,000 to $1 million per game?), and find a way to negotiate a long-term, market deal on the full slate of games at some point prior to 2019 (a buyout, a shared network agreement, extension with CSN, new network formed, etc.). It’s hard to imagine the TV bubble continuing to expand for another five years. But, hey, I guess you never know.