Major League Baseball's broadcast TV deal will expire at the end of the upcoming season. Negotiations are underway and they hope to get it done before the season starts however, Fox allowed its exclusive period to expire without a deal because MLB demanded a 20% increase in its rights fee for the new contract. Now that the exclusivity has expired, MLB is also talking to NBC and ABC/ESPN, and fledgling OLN but no deal is imminent.
Baseball may have made a critical negotiating error in this round, however. By allowing the NFL, NASCAR and even Major League Soccer to secure their television deals first, baseball finds itself in the position of being the last one to the plate with the networks all having spent most of their sports budgets on everyone else. As a long time negotiator I can say it's never a good thing to be last. So add television rights negotiation to the list of business deals seemingly bungled by the Selig administration. It may be premature to judge this one as bungled, and he may yet pull it out, but my guess is that baseball will not get a significant rights fee increase, if any, and Selig should, but probably won't get blamed. Link: MediaWeek Feb 13, '06 - MLB Struggles to Renew TV Rights Deals