ESPN renewed its contract with Major League Baseball in May for $3.85 billion over seven years, ditching rights to the league’s midweek broadcasts starting in 2022. Now those games are up for grabs.
MLB chief revenue officer Noah Garden revealed that the league is interested in selling the midweek games to a streaming service, potentially in the next few weeks, according to Sports Business Journal.
Garden says MLB wants to reach fans in a nontraditional way, following in the footsteps of other leagues.
- The NFL reached a 10-season, $10 billion deal with Amazon in March to stream “Thursday Night Football.”
- The WNBA signed a deal with Amazon to stream 16 regular-season games and the Commissioner’s Cup.
- LaLiga sold rights to Disney to stream games on ESPN+ for eight years.
ESPN shares midweek games with regional sports networks through this season, averaging 526,000 viewers for the four Wednesday games in June. “Sunday Night Baseball” averaged over 1.65 million viewers in May.
YouTube, NBC’s Peacock, and sports betting companies are reported targets for the midweek rights.
MLB extended its U.S. broadcasting rights with Turner in September in a seven-year, $3.2 billion deal. In 2018, the league struck a seven-year, $5.1 billion deal with Fox Sports.