PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Phillies are staying with Comcast Sportsnet, but it’s going to cost the TV network over $2 billion to make that happen.
The network, who confirmed that a new deal to broadcast Phillies games has been signed, will own the television broadcast rights for 25 years, beginning in the 2016 season, according to a report from Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Phillies president Dave Montgomery confirmed to Gelb that the team will also acquire an equity stake in the television network.
The average annual value of $100 million is less than deals signed by the Dodgers, Angels, and Mariners in recent years, but it’s unclear what the value of the equity stake in CSN is worth.
The Dodgers, after signing their new deal, went on a spending binge, with a total payroll in 2013 of $216 million. The Phillies began 2013 with the third highest payroll in baseball at $159 million. With 10 total players under contract for 2014, the Phillies payroll stands at $140 million.
The team has not made a big splash in free-agency, re-signing Carlos Ruiz, and adding Marlon Byrd and Roberto Hernandez. It’s unclear whether the new TV deal will influence the Phillies to send their annual payroll over the luxury tax threshold.
The Phillies have had diminishing returns for their high payroll over the last two years, finishing 81-81 in 2012, and 73-89 in 2013.