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Fox May Connect on Dodgers' Renewal: Reports

25-Year Rights Pact Could Be Valued at More than $6 Billion 11/26/2012 8:22 AM Eastern

Fox Sports is nearing a media rights extension that would lock up Los Angeles Dodgers' local media rights well into the 2030s.

Various published reports indicate that Fox is closing in on a 25-year rights deal valued at $6 billion to $7 billion for the Major League Baseball franchise. At those terms, the pact would be the most lucrative local sports right contract ever and allow the sports programmer to retain key content in its home market, following its loss of the Los Angeles Lakers to Time Warner Cable.

That deal, valued at a minimum of $3 billion over 20 years, has yielded a pair of regional sports networks centering on the storied NBA franchise, including the first dedicated Spanish-language service of its kind in the U.S.

The Dodgers and Fox are currently in an exclusive negotiating period that concludes on Nov. 30

One story suggested a deal could be announced as early as tomorrow, but sources familiar with the negotiations dismissed that time frame and the notion that Fox would walk away if an agreement is not reached by month’s end. These executives suggest the deal will be completed by the end of the year.

If a new pact is not reached by Friday, according to Los Angeles Times, the Dodgers have until Dec. 7 to present Fox with a final offer. In turn, Fox then would have 30 days to accept or reject this proposal.

It is unclear whether a Fox pact would result in the Dodgers having their own RSN, or if the negotiations ultimately will not result in the mega-rights renewal.

Whatever the outcome, Dodgers games will continue to air on Prime Ticket during 2013, the final year of their long-term pact.

Fox in a statement said, "We're working hard to reach an agreement that achieves the goals of Dodgers ownership and also makes sense for our business."

Last week, News Corp. announced that it would be taking a 49% stake in the YES Network, the cable home of the New York Yankees. The transaction, expected to close by year-end, also provides a path for the media giant to increase its ownership in the RSN to 80% three years down the road.

 

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