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Volume 20 No. 46
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Payday for Rays: Team working to nail down new deal with Fox

The Tampa Bay Rays are in discussions on a long-term extension with Fox Sports Net that will lock in the team’s local media rights for at least the next 16 years, sources say.

The deal, which still has hurdles the two sides have to overcome, could be finalized before the start of the baseball season. Those discussion points that still need to be negotiated are not known, but the groups are scheduled to meet next month to try to hammer them out. Allen & Co.’s Steve Greenberg is representing the Rays. Fox Sports Regional Networks President Jeff Krolik is handling negotiations for Fox.

The Rays are entering the final year of their current deal on Fox Sports Sun. The team is due to receive close to $35 million this season, the last one under that deal, sources said.

Fox’s payout is expected to increase to around $50 million in 2019 under the new contract. Over the 15-year life of the deal, which would run through the 2033 season, Fox would pay, on average, around $82 million per year, sources said.

Complicating matters is the fact that 21st Century Fox is selling the Fox Sports RSN group to Disney as part of a $52.4 billion deal that includes the company’s entertainment assets. The deal has to be approved by regulators before the sale can go through.

— John Ourand and Daniel Kaplan