Major League Baseball and ESPN, the Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) sports network that began televising games in 1990, announced Tuesday an eight-year broadcasting agreement worth about $5.6 billion, according to a published report.
The Bristol, Conn.-based network will pay about double what it now pays MLB for the rights to more games, studio programming and online coverage through 2021, Bloomberg News reported.
ESPN said its annual rights fee will increase by 100 percent over its current deals, marking a record for an MLB broadcasting deal. In addition to the increase in studio and game content, ESPN will have the right to broadcast up to 90 regular-season games per year across its networks beginning in 2014.
The network will continue to telecast each of its baseball windows -- Monday nights, Wednesday nights and the nationally exclusive "Sunday Night Baseball" franchise. Also starting in 2014, the agreement covers TV and radio rights to MLB programming both in the United States and internationally and will include expanded hours of "Baseball Tonight" and other ancillary programming across ESPN platforms.