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Sources Say MLB Will Take New Wild Card Games TV Rights To The Open Market

Sources Say MLB Will Take New Wild Card Games TV Rights To The Open Market

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MLB is planning to take the TV rights to its new wild card playoff games "to the open market this week," according to sources cited by John Ourand in this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources said that an exclusive negotiating window with Turner Sports was "scheduled to end last Saturday without a deal." That will enable the league to "engage ESPN and Fox Sports in negotiations for the one-game wild card playoff in each league." Sources also said that MLB is "seriously considering carrying the games on its own MLB Network." It is unknown what type of "rights fee MLB can get from these added games." The league wants to "see whether competition from the open market can push up the price for what should be an appealing and highly rated one-game playoff." Neither ESPN nor Fox has had "formal talks for the games, and it's difficult to gauge their interest." Conceivably, the package "would be open to others, like NBC Sports Network." But sources said that it was "unlikely that a non-MLB TV partner would wind up with the games." Several sources consider MLB Network or TBS the "likely landing spot; there is a possibility that they could split the package and each carry a game" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 4/2 issue).