Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Negotiating Next Deal with FSM

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cardinals Negotiating Next Deal with FSM

Article excerpt

JUPITER, Fla. * With broadcast rights fees rocketing upward around baseball and increasingly playing a part in a team's competitive edge, the Cardinals and Fox Sports Midwest are negotiating their next contract, one that will be far more lucrative for the club.

"I think both sides are looking for certainty and I think that's the general trend because the TV landscape is changing," Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. told The Post-Dispatch on Saturday. "I think continuity is good. Both sides, we and they, would like to maintain the relationship. From their standpoint they would like to have some cost certainty. And from our standpoint we would have some revenue certainty."

The Cardinals' contract with Fox Sports Midwest expires at the end of the 2017 season. The new deal would not be an extension, DeWitt said, but rather a completely new deal that would start with the 2018 season. The talks continue and could be completed during this season, linking Fox Sports Midwest and the Cardinals for a decade or more to come after the current deal ends. Neither side has disclosed the value of the current deal, but multiple sources have described to The Post-Dispatch that it has built-in escalators that would pay around $30 million or more in the final years.

Many similar teams are doubling or tripling that revenue.

The Arizona Diamondbacks recently agreed to a rights deal that could exceed $1 billion, The Arizona Republic reported. That figure was based on the club expecting to triple the $31-million average annual payment from their previous deal. This is baseball's gold mine, and it is a driving force behind rising contracts. Teams pull in a guaranteed haul from the national rights deals, and local deals are a second jackpot. A major reason is because live sports remain appointment television and attractive to advertisers in an era of DVRs, on-demand viewing, and streaming programs.

The Cardinals' market ranks 23rd of the 30 teams, and while the Cardinals' annually get the highest ratings in baseball it's the market size and number of cable subscribers within a region that influence rights fees. The Chicago Cubs, for example, are banking on their market's size and a substantially larger rights fees to support an increased payroll after their deal ends in 2019. …

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