The Philadelphia Phillies are the latest MLB club to strike a lucrative TV rights deal, agreeing with Comcast SportsNet on a 25-year, $2.5 billion pact as reported by the Philadelphia Daily News on Friday. Whereas the ballclub has been receiving $35MM annually under its existing TV contract, the Phillies stand to bring in an average of $100MM annually when the deal goes into effect in 2016.
The Phillies have been in the top five in team salaries recently and they have stuck their necks out on several contracts under GM Ruben Amaro Jr., most notably in the case of 1B Ryan Howard and his 5Yr/$125MM contract that was agreed to before the 2012 season. The jump in revenue is certainly needed for a club that was once a perennial power and still sees itself as a major player in MLB.
There is debate about the strength of this deal, relative to others signed recently by MLB clubs. The Rangers, Padres and Dodgers are among the teams who have been busy on the TV-rights front and the time is definitely now for such dealings. A “TV Sports Bubble” is another thought in the wind and some believe that the agreements being reached these days won’t be around for much longer.
In any case, the Phillies had their turn at the cash register and this deal is what they did with it. Some think it could have been better for the fourth-largest TV market in baseball, but there is no denying that they have added financial flexibility over their current agreement. And they stand to make out even better with the ownership stake in CSN Philadelphia that is included.