Major League Baseball is heading toward a lockout that will delay Opening Day, but the league has been in “serious talks” with NBC Sports about the possibility of broadcasting games when the season begins, according to a new report by Andrew Marchand of the New York Post. If a deal is reached, a “sliver” of the games will air on the NBC broadcast network and most of the games are expected to stream on Peacock.
The NBC Sports news comes after it was reported that Apple was in talks with MLB to broadcast live national games for their Apple TV+ streaming service. The two companies could start a bidding war over the league’s games when the season begins with Marchand’s report detailing the following:
MLB has been looking for a $100 million to $150 million total payout for these games, according to sources. The amount NBC and Apple could pay is not yet known, but Apple is expected to pay the majority of it.
The last time MLB games aired on NBC was 2000, and if the league can secure a deal with the network, longtime NBC Sports sportscaster and current MLB Network play-by-play commentator Bob Costas may return to the network. Costas spent four decades with NBC before leaving in 2019.
Apple is looking to spend billions on live sports and if they’re able to hit a home run with the MLB then MLB Network is expected to hand the production for the games.
Currently, ESPN, Fox Sports, and Turner share the rights to nationally broadcasted MLB games. ESPN relinquished their rights to Monday and Wednesday nationally televised games, instead, the network will focus on marquee Sunday Night Baseball games.
The biggest holdup in contract negotiations for MLB, Apple, NBC, and any other network, is that the owners and players have not come to a deal for a new collective bargaining agreement. Opening Day has already been postponed until a new deal is reached, and it’ll be hard to reach a deal if there isn’t a product on the field to broadcast. The next collective bargaining agreement could see an expanded playoff, which could affect broadcast rights for ESPN, who would have rights to the first round of the postseason.