The fact that the Philadelphia Phillies have finally landed the TV deal they wanted means a lot to the team’s long-term future and even more to what should be the short-term goal of landing free agent pitcher Masahiro Tanaka.
Whether or not they pull the trigger on that kind of a blockbuster signing is another story, but there is no doubt they have the deepest pockets now, even including the New York Yankees. The Phillies and Comcast SportNet have agreed to a long-term broadcasting deal, the network announced. Here’s the statement from Maureen Quilter, Comcast’s senior director of communications:
“We’re pleased to confirm that NBCUniversal and Comcast SportsNet have signed a new long-term deal with the Philadelphia Phillies that will expand Comcast SportsNet’s role as the Phillies’ primary TV partner. Although the terms of the comprehensive deal are confidential, details surrounding the 2014 schedule of games will be provided in the coming months.”
The deal has been reported to span 20-25 years. Financial terms are said to be “massive” and along the lines of other recently signed television deals. The Phillies will not start their own regional broadcasting network, although a Yankees’ type “Yes Network” was considered, but will receive a similar payout.
The team received only $35 million per year under their old agreement. The Los Angeles Dodgers recently agreed to a 20-25 year deal worth upwards of $7 billion. The Phillies’ money is considered to be in the “same ballpark” with Dodger and Yankee money, and that’s a pretty nice ballpark.
Although the new agreement kicks in after the 2015 season when the current deal expires, the Phillies would have no trouble offering Tanaka the money now as financial institutions know that the Phils are good for it and it would be no problem for the Phils to float a loan if needed. In addition to the Comcast money, the Phils will also receive $50 million of the new national TV contract baseball signed with FOX, TBS and ESPN.
Tanaka was 24-0 in Japan last season, and signing him now would bolster another revenue source, attendance, which has taken a hit after two mediocre seasons. It’s a no-brainer for Phils’ management, but a lot of no-brainers over the last couple of years have turned into brainers.