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Volume 25 No. 176
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MLB Set To Announce Renewal With Fox, New Deal With DAZN

MLB as early as today could announce a pair of media deals -- a big renewal with Fox Sports and a smaller streaming deal with DAZN -- at the owners meetings in Atlanta. Both Fox Exec Chair Lachlan Murdoch and Fox Sports CEO & Exec Producer Eric Shanks are in Atlanta for the meetings. The broadcast deal will keep MLB tied to Fox and FS1 through at least '28. Financial terms were not released, but sources said that Fox agreed to an annual percentage increase well into double digits. Fox currently is in the middle of an eight-year pact and pays $525M annually through '21.

The renewal looks much like Fox’ current deal, with the broadcast network carrying the World Series, All-Star Game, one LCS and one LDS. It also will continue to carry regular-season games on Saturday and have Spanish-language rights for Fox Deportes. The new deal gives Fox enhanced digital, streaming, social media and highlight rights, as well as the right to produce more games. Sources said it is likely that the added games could include a primetime weeknight window on the Fox broadcast channel, but that would not start until '22.

Sources said one of the reasons why Fox wanted to renew its deal three years early is a broadcast strategy for "New Fox" that prioritizes live programming. MLB also is having talks with its other media partners -- ESPN and Turner Sports -- but sources said those companies are not yet close to renewal deals. One issue that has come up in these talks is the potential to realign the postseason. Meanwhile, MLB also will announce a streaming deal with DAZN that will not include any live games, but allows for live cut-ins, similar to how MLB Network handles its studio show “MLB Tonight.” The three-year deal is a relatively small but significant move as DAZN continues its push into the U.S. market under the direction of Exec Chair John Skipper.