SBD/Issue 12/Sports Media

Rangers, FS Southwest Agree To 20-Year Deal Worth Around $1.6B

Rangers' New 20-Year Deal With FS
Southwest Will Begin With The '15 Season

The MLB Rangers and FS Southwest have a 20-year deal "in place," though a TV exec said the value is "somewhere between" $1.5-1.6B, not $3B as originally reported yesterday, according to Barry Horn of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. That translates to around $75-80M annually. The TV exec said that it "would not be wrong to assume" that some of the $1.5-1.6B "will be paid up front." The exec said, "Like a signing bonus for a player." The new deal "doesn't go into effect until the current one expires after the 2014 season," and the initial payment -- which could be around $80M -- will be "delivered before next season." The Rangers declined comment on the deal. Horn writes, "Why would Fox be willing to shell out so much for the Rangers in an era when the Los Angeles Dodgers, a bigger market team with a more valuable product and was once owned by Fox, takes in only about $45 million a year for its cable rights? The answer is simple. Fox has done the math and thinks the value is there." The Rangers offer Fox "as much as 162 days and nights of programming a year," and the network "needs product to fill time." The Tigers were the "last major market baseball team to reach a long-term cable deal," agreeing in '08 to a 10-year deal with FS Detroit in a package with the Pistons and Red Wings for a reported $1B. Meanwhile, Horn writes the Rangers' deal "doesn't bode well for the Stars." The Stars are "floundering" and FS Southwest is "shelling out so much for the Rangers, there probably won't be much left for the NHL team." The network also "has the Mavericks who play at the same time," so the Stars are "not in the best bargaining position" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/28). In Dallas, Tim Cowlishaw writes under the header, "Massive New TV Deal Gives Rangers Very Bright Future" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/28).

BAD NEWS FOR HOUSTON? In Houston, David Barron writes Fox' willingness to "commit to a new deal with the Rangers was interpreted Monday as an indication that it is moving on from what appears to be a futile attempt to keep the Rockets and Astros past 2012." MLB's rules governing broadcasting territories "will allow FS Southwest to continue airing Rangers games in Houston, even if the Astros and Rockets go elsewhere." Astros Owner Drayton McLane said that the Astros and Rockets "continue to work on their TV plans." McLane: "Hopefully in a week or so we will have it to a conclusion" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/28).

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