ESPN, MLB Reach 8-Year Expanded Broadcast Rights Deal

ESPN and MLB have reached a record deal that extends the network's baseball broadcast rights from 2014 through 2021, and from a financial perspective, the agreement is historic.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig told The Sports Business Journal's John Ourand that the deal more than doubles the current rights fees that the league receives from ESPN, with the total package estimated at $5.6 billion over the eight-year extension.

The expanded rights include granting ESPN the ability to broadcast one of two Wild Card games each year beginning in 2014. ESPN will alternate between National League and American League Wild Card games.They will also receive the rights to broadcast any regular-season tiebreaker games.

Per a statement from Selig:

"On behalf of Major League Baseball, I am thrilled that we will continue our long-standing relationship with ESPN far into the future. The level of ESPN's commitment to baseball - both financially and through its expanded content - is a testament to the strength of our game and its unprecedented popularity among our fans."

The agreement continues ESPN's rights to the annual MLB All-Star Game and All-Star Week events, including the State Farm Home Run Derby. The network said the deal increases its studio and game content significantly, giving it the ability to further improve their broadcasting of up to 90 regular-season games.

ESPN first began broadcasting MLB games in 1990.

For more coverage of MLB, hit up SB Nation's baseball hub, Baseball Nation.

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