Major League Baseball’s new seven-year deal with Turner Sports is for nearly $3.5 billion at $535 million per season, according to sources.
When the extension kicks in during the 2022 season, the league and the network are going to try to make their setup more like the one Turner Sports rode to prominence with the NBA, as it will feature a prime-time weeknight game and a new studio show.
Over Zoom, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and Warner Media News & Sports chairman Jeff Zucker discussed the new deal with The Post.
Besides continuing its extensive postseason package that includes an annual league championship series, TBS will create a Tuesday game of the week that will be preceded by its reconfigured pregame featuring Ernie Johnson, Pedro Martinez, Jimmy Rollins and Curtis Granderson.
The new team debuts on TBS’ playoff coverage this year.
“We are not going to replicate ‘Inside The NBA’ because I don’t think it is possible to do that,” Zucker said. “That is the premier show in all of sports broadcasting. On the other hand, I did think there was an opportunity to enhance our baseball studio show and that was a priority for me, as well.”
The weekly Tuesday spots — that doubles the number of regular-season games from the current deal — could help because, even though TBS has been involved with national baseball coverage for more than a dozen years, its regular-season Sunday-afternoon package has never caught on making the network feel like postseason interlopers.
“The move to Tuesday night does give Turner a higher-profile presence during the regular season,” Manfred said. “When Jeff mentioned it to me, I was all over it.”
Fox has already locked up the long-term rights to the World Series. ESPN’s extension is in the works, though, sources said the network favors less bulk and more premier games.
ESPN picked off seven of the eight new first-round playoff series in the new extended format.
“We are having on-going conversations with ESPN,” Manfred said. “I am hopeful we are going to make an agreement with them. It has probably been a little slower than it might have been because of the whole COVID-distraction issues.”
Meanwhile, Zucker has brought Bob Costas to CNN, but the Hall of Fame broadcaster is not going to be on any games for TBS.
“Nobody should be confused, he is not going to be involved in any play-by-play or studio show or anything like that,” Zucker said. “But he is in the family. Would I think about him in different ways? Sure. I have a preeminent voice who is in the family. I’ll figure that out over time.”