Word began filtering into The Biz of Baseball late last week that the Texas Rangers had inked a television contract extension with Fox Sports Southwest. When asked for a contract that might be good to compare to, I cited the Mariners deal with Fox Sports Northwest in 2007, a 12-year deal well in excess of $400 million.
But, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, that deal pales by comparison to the Rangers deal.
According to the USA Today reporter, three sources within baseball say it is a 20-year, $3 billion dollar deal that would make it the most lucrative local television deal for a team that does not own its own regional sports network.
There are some questions as to whether the numbers are quite right. Multiple attempts to get Chuck Greenberg to respond have gone unreturned, and some have said that the figures could be off – possibly wildly.
But, given the leveraging power of the moment, the extension figure is possible. According to Nightengale, the deal was brokered shortly after the Rangers were auctioned off to the Greenberg-Nolan Ryan group. During the auction process, News Corp (FOX) considered bidding for the club over concerns of a RSN being created by Mark Cuban. As I’ll report further for FanGraphs tomorrow, FOX may have been worried about a Rangers RSN, period, regardless of the owner.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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