MLB Rumors: Expanded Postseason Impacted TV Revenue From ESPN

Across MLB, teams have massive TV rights contracts that enable them to spend in free agency and become profitable as a business. As for the league as its own entity, however, revenue comes from their own TV deals with major networks such as ESPN, TBS and Fox.

More recently, MLB announced a streaming partnership with Apple TV+ and are said to be closing in on a deal with Peacock.

Because April ends to be a low month in terms of generating revenue, it was believed team owners were willing to drag on with the MLB lockout by missing the initial 30 days of the season. Conversely, TV revenue makes for a major profit come the postseason.

ESPN was signed on to broadcast the 2022 MLB playoffs and was under the belief that the league was planning on an expanded postseason by way of a 14-team format. According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, the Players Association (MLBPA) and MLB agreeing to a 12-team expanded playoff format led to a $15 million decrease in TV revenue:

Team owners have long been a proponent of an expanded postseason, arguing it keeps teams and fanbases better involved down the stretch of a season because of the possibility to earn a berth in October.

However, since the CBA was ratified in March, the Cincinnati Reds and Oakland Athletics have begun stripping down their respective rosters.

Manfred attempted to convince of expanded playoffs benefits

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has lobbied for expanded postseason in the past due to the potential revenue attached to its possibility. Manfred recently addressed fans and players alike, stating what he believes to be the benefits of more teams making the playoffs.

“It is good for players and for clubs, and it’s also good for our fans,” he said during the lockout.

“The vast majority of whom enjoy playoff baseball. We think the new format will encourage more clubs to compete, while giving more players the opportunity to participate in the postseason.”

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