The deal keeps the World Series on Fox, which has broadcast it every year since 1996, and will step up the number of regular- and post-season games on the network starting in 2022. The deal joins others set recently by Fox for wrestling, boxing and the NFL as the company reinforces Fox’s live programming focus ahead of the close of the $71.3 billion merger with Disney.
MLB and Fox are preserves the arrangement that has been in place since 2014, under which the league championship series trade off, giving Fox the American League and National League in alternating years. Fox will also carry two Division Series and the All-Star Game and get expanded digital rights.
Fox will also continue Saturday regular-season broadcasts (52 total games a year). Beginning in 2022, the amount of regular season and postseason games televised by the FOX broadcast network will increase, thought the company and league did not offer details of the step-up.
Ratings for Major League baseball have been showing healthy signs in recent years, reaching peak levels in the fall of 2016 and 2017 with seven-game World Series wins for the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros, respectively.
“Fox Sports has been our national television partner for over 20 years and I could not be more pleased to announce the extension of our relationship through the 2028 season,” said MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred.
“Since we began our historic partnership with Major League Baseball more than 20 years ago, MLB games on Fox have provided some of the most iconic moments in American sports,” said Fox executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch. “This significant multi-year agreement not only cements Fox’s role as Major League Baseball’s number one broadcast partner, it ensures that FOX will remain America’s leader in live sports well into the future.”
Fox Sports CEO and Executive Producer Eric Shanks called baseball a “cornerstone” of the Fox lineup. “It’s an honor to have shared countless historic moments with our viewers over the last 22 seasons,” he said. “We are extremely proud to continue to be the home of Major League Baseball’s jewel events for the next decade.”