Major League Baseball and ESPN reached an agreement on a robust seven-year television rights contract that begins with the 2022 season and extends through 2028. The rights in the new agreement provide flexibility to maximize the current and potential future distribution of ESPN.
As a result of the deal, ESPN will exclusively televise 30 regular-season games annually, including 25 editions of Sunday Night Baseball, and the MLB Little League Classic. ESPN will exclusively televise five additional games each season, including an Opening Night telecast.
ESPN will continue to hold the exclusive broadcast of the Home Run Derby as part of its cross-platform MLB All-Star coverage. The network will receive the rights to produce alternate presentations across its platforms for each of the live events, as well as the opportunity to simulcast every ESPN and ABC game telecasts on ESPN+.
“ESPN has been one of MLB’s longest and most important partners. This extension continues the evolution of our relationship with a focus on utilizing ESPN’s extensive assets to shine a spotlight on key match-ups throughout the year,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.
“With reach across broadcast, cable, streaming, and social, ESPN is able to deliver MLB action to our broad fan base across multiple platforms. As the way in which fans consume baseball continues to change, this partnership provides expanded opportunities for fans to engage with our content and we are excited to present those new opportunities.”
In addition to regular season and postseason broadcasts, ESPN has the rights to nationally televise up to 10 Spring Training games each year.
Financial terms of the deal were not released, but it was recently reported MLB was preparing to receive less than originally expected.
Wild Card round on ESPN
Starting next season, ESPN will exclusively televise the entire Wild Card round if it expands. Shall the current format remain in place, the network will continue to exclusively televise one of the two Wild Card Games, and receive eight additional exclusive regular-season game telecasts each year.
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