This coming from the always elusive Nikki Finke of Deadline.com, the Los Angeles Dodgers are about to sign a huge rights deal that keeps the team on Fox Sports Prime Ticket for the next two and a half decades.
According to Finke, the Dodgers will receive between $6-7 billion over a 25 year period that would begin after the 2013 season. The Dodgers would receive on average of $280 million per year over the life of the contract.
With Time Warner Cable potentially making a play for the rights, Fox and its owner News Corp. thought it was imperative to keep the Dodgers in the fold. Fox had signed the Dodgers when the team was owned by Frank McCourt, however, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig declared the deal null and void and forced McCourt to sell the team to a group that included former Sony Pictures President Peter Guber and former LA Laker Magic Johnson.
Finke reports that Fox had an exclusive 45 day negotiating period with the Dodgers that expired at the end of this month and used that deadline to its advantage.
Earlier this month, News Corp. purchased a 49% stake in the YES Network which has the rights to the New York Yankees. With this new deal, Fox Sports has rights to three MLB teams in the nation’s two largest markets, the Yankees, the Dodgers and the Anaheim Angels. In addition, Fox has a long term deal with the Texas Rangers.
We’ll await the official word, but Nikki Finke has solid sources and an announcement could be coming very soon.