The recent trend of baseball teams getting absurd local TV contracts isn’t ending any time soon. The Arizona Diamondbacks are cashing in (as we wrote about in October), and reports indicate they’ll be getting over $1 billion over the life of the new contract, expected to run between 15 and 20 years.
Think about that for a second – $1 billion for the Arizona Diamondbacks television rights. It seems ridiculous, but that’s the new market for MLB teams. More and more teams are cashing in, and Arizona is just the latest club to take advantage of that booming market. The money isn’t exactly a waste, either – the Diamondbacks were one of 11 teams to have the top local primetime rating in their market during the 2011 season.
There’s another, more interesting part of Arizona’s new TV deal. Way back in October, Sports Business Journal reported that Fox had tabled negotiations with the Diamondbacks and Cardinals on new local rights deals until it could get a local streaming deal worked out with MLB. A couple of weeks ago, MLB and Fox were still butting heads over the details of in-market streaming. Could a Diamondbacks deal with Fox imply that an in-market streaming deal is on the horizon…or could it indicate that we’re not going to get in-market streaming this year?
I’d hope it’s the former, because it would be silly for Fox to agree to a new contract with the Diamondbacks before the future of in-market streaming is known (unless there’s something provisional in this new contract). Opening Day is six and a half weeks away, and Spring Training games start in a week and a half. Hopefully, we have something more substantial in regards to in-market streaming by then.