That all still falls short of baseball's draw, especially in the eyes of the networks. ESPN and Fox just paid $600 million for the rights to MLS and U.S. national team matches through 2022. NBC, meanwhile, shelled out $250 million for two seasons' worth of premier league rights. Fox just paid $425 million to broadcast the World Cup in English in 2018 and 2022, while Comcast-owned Telemundo coughed up $600 million for the Spanish-language rights. The last time Major League Baseball sorted out its television contracts, it came away with $700 million per season from ESPN alone in an eight-year deal starting this year that includes postseason Wild Card games.
MLB tacked eight-year deals with Fox and Turner Sports from 2014 to 2021, with Fox kicking in $500 million per year and Turner parting with $300 million each season. That gives each of them access to playoff games, though Fox gets more access to Division Series games and the Saturday Game Of The Week. It also gets the All-Star Game, which has faded since its peak audience of 36.3 million back in 1976 and but still draws a respectable 11 million viewers -- which is still about half of the viewership it received in 1994.
Major League Soccer's All Stars drew just 319,000 to ESPN2 when they played AS Roma during their league's All-Star game last year. Even that was down 530,000 from their All-Star matchup against Chelsea in 2013.
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