Disney, ESPN Renew MLB Rights

Disney's ESPN has renewed its Major League Baseball contract through the 2028 season.

The seven-year deal, which starts in 2022, is worth about $550 million, according to Sports Business Journal sources.

ESPN's exclusive rights include airing 30 regular-season games annually -- including 25 editions of "Sunday Night Baseball," the national MLB game of the week, and the "MLB Little League Classic" -- and five additional games each season, including the national opening night telecast.

ESPN will continue to carry the Home Run Derby as part of its exclusive cross-platform MLB All-Star coverage.

ESPN has the rights to produce alternate presentations across its platforms for each of the live events, as well as the opportunity to simulcast all ESPN and ABC game telecasts on ESPN+.

It also has exclusive rights to televise the entire MLB Wild Card Series starting in 2022, if the event expands. ESPN carried seven of the eight MLB Wild Card Series in 2020. If the current Wild Card format continues, ESPN will continue to televise one of the two MLB Wild Card Games, and be entitled to eight additional exclusive regular-season game telecasts each year.

In addition to the new live event simulcast rights, ESPN now has the right to create new MLB content for ESPN+, including studio and highlight-driven programming.

The streaming service will also continue to televise an MLB game (subject to local blackout restrictions) nearly every day of the regular season, as well as select spring training coverage.

ESPN has retained extensive audio and Spanish-language telecast rights. ESPN Radio will continue to nationally broadcast the highest-profile MLB events, including the World Series and the full MLB post-season, the All-Star Game, opening night, and "Sunday Night Baseball." ESPN's Spanish-language telecast rights package for ESPN Deportes also continues, including live events and studio coverage throughout the regular season and post-season.

The deal expands ESPN’s highlight rights for all of its news and information platforms and digital MLB shows such as "BBTN Live." "Baseball Tonight" will continue to serve as ESPN’s premier pre-event show for live events.

The rights also include national televising of up to 10 spring training games each year. Those telecasts will co-exist in the local markets.

The first rights agreement between ESPN and MLB commenced with the 1990 season.

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