Report: MLB, Fox agree to new TV contract

Updated: July 11, 2006, 8:53 PM ET
SportsTicker

PITTSBURGH - Major League Baseball is about to receive a new influx of cash - and a new TV partner.

Baseball agreed Tuesday to a new seven-year TV contract with Fox and newcomer Turner Sports. No financial terms were reported, but SI.com reported the deal will be worth more than expiring contract MLB has with Fox estimated at $400 million per year.

Starting in 2007, TBS will be the exclusive home of the Division Series round, which currently is televised on Fox and ESPN. The announcement was made at PNC Park, the site of Tuesday's 77th All-Star Game.

"Major League Baseball is very pleased to announce these new agreements with Fox Sports and Turner Sports," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. "These agreements are another indication that baseball today is more popular than at any time in its history.

"Fox has been a wonderful partner. They have demonstrated a great commitment to the game and we are delighted to continue our excellent relationship."

Under the new agreement, Fox will maintain exclusive rights to the World Series and All-Star Game through 2013. The network will air the American League Championship Series in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013 and the National League Championship Series in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

The network also will expand its "Fox Saturday Baseball Game of the Week" coverage to up to 26 weeks per season, an increase from 18 weeks.

"Fox has enjoyed 11 terrific years as the broadcast home of Major League Baseball, having covered some of the game's most memorable moments," Fox Networks president and CEO Tony Vinciquerra said.

For years, TBS has been the cable TV home of the Atlanta Braves, whom the network has referred to as "America's Team." Now TBS has a hand in America's national pastime.

TBS will telecast all regular-season tiebreaker games, all Division Series games and All-Star Game selection shows each year. In addition, beginning in 2008, TBS will have a telecast window of games on 26 Sunday afternoons.

The network will continue to broadcast Braves games through 2007. ESPN will maintain its exclusive window for Sunday night baseball.

MLB also reached a new 10-year agreement with USA Baseball in which it will acquire USA Baseball's commercial rights, enabling USAB to focus on growing amateur baseball in the United States.

MLB will provide USA Baseball with a guaranteed level of funding to support its athletes. The agreement includes a unique revenue-sharing opportunity to provide for the organization's growth.

The undisclosed annual funding represents the largest financial commitment ever made to the organization.

"MLB is excited about this significant expansion of our relationship with USA Baseball," Selig said. "By strengthening the bonds between the national governing body for amateur baseball and Major League Baseball, we will be able to better understand both the needs and the opportunities that exist and put initiatives in place to encourage growth of the game at all levels."

MLB's support of USA Baseball previously has included event sponsorship and the funding of international teams and events such as the inaugural World Baseball Classic in March that included pro athletes.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index

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