Major League Baseball is expecting a price reduction on its national television deal with ESPN, according to sources that spoke with The Athletic.
MLB’s previous deal with ESPN was an eight-year, $5.6 billion contract worth $700 million per year. The agreement under discussion would be for seven years and approximately $3.85 billion, reducing the average annual value to about $550 million per year, sources said.
ESPN will cut the number of games they carry by more than half. ESPN will retain Sunday Night Baseball and the Home Run Derby.
The smaller annual payout MLB will receive from ESPN is in marked contrast to the growth it generated in recent renewals with two other national-television partners, Fox Sports and Turner Sports.
The league’s seven-year, $5.1 billion deal with Fox, reached in November 2018, produced an increase from $525 million annually to $728.6 million. The seven-year, $3.75 billion deal with Turner, struck in June 2020, produced an increase from $325 million annually to $535 million.