The Philadelphia Phillies could be looking at an large infusion of money when the time comes to negotiate their next TV deal for the 2016 season.
"The local TV money," says Ed Goren, vice chairman of Fox Sports media group, "has changed the entire landscape. There are a lot of other teams that can play with the big boys now and write those big checks." (via USA Today)
That's good news for the Phillies which have a deal with Comcast which runs until 2015. Take for example the big money that the Padres are reportedly in line for:
San Diego is the 26th largest market in baseball. Their 2011 local TV ratings were 3.15, or about a third of the Phillies' 9.12 number. And the Padres are reportedly on the verge of signing a 20-year deal with Fox Sports possibly worth as much as $1.5 billion. (This number, reported by USA Today, has been disputed. But it could include the value of an equity stake in the network.) (via Philly.com)
Unlike San Diego, the Phillies have seen their local ratings increase for the past nine seasons. Matt Gelb says that Comcast could also try and block other bidders by ending the current contract early.
The Phillies may not have to wait until 2016 to cash in. Comcast, in a show of good faith, could rip up the final few seasons of the existing 15-year contract. That would deter any other possible bidders and eliminate the outside chance of the Phillies creating their own network.
Will the Phillies wait until 2016? Why not? MLB Super Agent Scott Boras predicts that the Phillies could land more than the $4 billion or $5 billion that the Dodgers are in line to make with their next TV deal.