TBS Secures Baseball LCS Package

Turner Broadcasting System hit a cable-sports home run Tuesday by announcing a multiyear deal to televise one-half of Major League Baseball’s League Championship Series.

The deal, along with TBS’ acquisition of the Division Series playoff contests this past July, gives cable three-fourths of baseball’s postseason games through 2013. Fox Broadcasting, which currently telecasts both packages, will televise the other LCS contest.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

TBS will televise the National League Championship Series in 2007 and alternate between leagues each year through the duration of the contract.

TBS Sports president David Levy said the deal was a major coup for TBS and further dilutes the lines between broadcast and cable television.

“Ultimately, we believe at Turner that the television landscape has changed, with the lines between broadcast and cable virtually nonexistent,” Levy said. “We live in the one-television world, and the lines between television and cable now are less defined.”

Levy said the deal does not include other digital rights, such as broadband.

Along with playoff telecasts, TBS also has rights to all MLB tiebreaker games, 26 regular-season Sunday-afternoon Game of the Week contests beginning in 2008 and the MLB All-Star Game Selection Show.

TBS will also air 70 Atlanta Braves games nationally in 2007, then 45 games on WTBS locally in Atlanta starting in 2008 and running through 2013.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig said he’s not concerned about a potential drop in ratings for the LCS with its move from broadcast television to cable.

“With the television landscape changing as dramatically as it is, I, at this point in time, wouldn’t be willing to concede [lower ratings],” he said. “I’m very optimistic about this relationship, and I think it’s really a good one for us.”

R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.