WarnerMedia Pays $3.7 Billion to Renew and Expand MLB Rights

(Image credit: Major League Baseball)

WarnerMedia has extended and expanded its distribution agreement with Major League Baseball in a deal stretching from 2022-2028 and valued at $3.7 billion.

The the $535 million-per-season agreement represents an expansion over the current $325 million-per-season pact. The deal maintains WarnerMedia's access to postseason baseball, and brings a regular Tuesday night game franchise, to the conglomerate's Turner-branded cable networks, and perhaps new streaming service HBO Max. 

As LightShed Partners analyst Richard Greenfield noted on Twitter this morning, the erstwhile Time Warner Inc. started dealing with MLB in 2014, paying just $260 million a season ... when the pay TV ecosystem was a full third larger than it is today. 

Under the seven-year agreement, TBS will exclusively televise more postseason games than any other cable network. The channel will have rights to one Wild Card game, two division series and one league championship series each season. 

In a model similar to what WarnerMedia has successfully established on TNT with the NBA over the last two decades, TBS will debut a new season-long Tuesday Night live-game franchise on TBS beginning in 2022. Ernie Johnson, who heads the TNT/NBA studio effort, will also lead a studio gathering for MLB that includes former player stars Pedro Martinez, Jimmy Rollins and Curtis Granderson.

Notably, the agreement will include "expansive digital rights for Bleacher Report and additional WarnerMedia platforms."

“We’re delighted to extend our long-standing relationship with Major League Baseball and all of the opportunities this agreement offers us as we broaden our coverage of the game across all of our platforms,” said  Jeff Zucker, chairman of WarnerMedia News and Sports, in a statement. “We will continue to further evolve our multi-platform delivery of content with a focus on storytelling and innovation in all forms.”

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!