CSN Philadelphia Connects on Long-Term Phillies Renewal

RSN Retains MLB Club's Rights Well Into the 2030s

The Philadelphia Phillies have inked a long-term rights renewal with Comcast SportsNet.

Financial terms of the agreement with CSN Philadelphia were not disclosed, but published reports put the value of the deal at some $2.5 billion over 25 years and also gives the Phillies an expanded ownership stake in the regional sports network. That locks in CSN's access to Phillies games and ancillary programming until almost 2040.

The RSN, whose contract was set to expire after the 2015 Major League Baseball season, currently pays the ballclub an annual fee of $35 million. As such, the rights for the sole MLB team in the nation’s fourth-largest TV market were vastly undervalued, especially compared to more recent deals struck by Los Angeles Dodgers and Angels, Texas Rangers and Seattle Mariners. Sources familiar with the negotiations indicate that there were some preliminary third-party discussions with the club, but the talks did not progress given CSN Philadelphia’s incumbent position.

Presently, the RSN receives a monthly license fee of over $3, according to SNL Kagan data.

CSN Philadelphia, which also airs Philadelphia Flyers and Philadelphia 76ers games, will televise the majority of the Phillies contests, with some weekend exposure on WCAU-NBC, which like the RSN is part of NBCUniversal, Comcast’s programming arm.  According to the Philadephia Inquirer, WPHL-TV will no longer show Phillies games.

CSN Philadelphia declined to discuss the new agreement, but issued the following statement.

"We're pleased to confirm that NBCUniversal and Comcast SportsNet have signed a new long-term deal with the Philadelphia Phillies that will expand Comcast SportsNet's role as the Phillies' primary TV partner. Although the terms of the comprehensive deal are confidential, details surrounding the 2014 schedule of games will be provided in the coming months." 

The Phillies, after winning the 2008 World Series, have been on a downward trend on the field, losing to the New York Yankees in the 2009 Fall Classic. In 2010, the team fell to the San Francisco Giants in the 2010 National League Championship Series and then to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series in 2011. In 2012, the club finished at .500, before slipping to a 73-89 mark and fourth-place in the NL East last season.

The team’s ratings declined 39% to a 3.40 rating in the Philadelphia DMA during the 2013 campaign.