After much buzz, the Philadelphia Phillies agreed to a new television deal with Comcast Sportsnet yesterday, that will kick in after their current deal expires after the 2015 regular season concludes.
Terms of the deal are yet to be disclosed (and likely will never be made public, barring a leak), but a “spokesperson” for CSN, had this to say on the new deal.
“We’re pleased to confirm that NBC Universal 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,” the spokesman said. “Although the terms of the comprehensive deal are confidential, details surrounding the 2014 schedule of games will be provided in the coming months.”
Kevin Cooney of the Bucks County Courier Times, had this to offer about the deal.
Calkins Media has learned those terms include a contract believed to be in the 20- to 25-year range. Financial terms have been kept secret, but one source referred to the deal as “massive.” That would fall in line with some of the other deals around the country that MLB franchises have agreed to for local rights fees. During 2013, the Los Angeles Dodgers reportedly agreed to a deal for 20 to 25 years with Time Warner Cable to start their own network for $7 billion.
Update: Matt Gelb has the exact details of the deal.
Source: Phillies’ 25-year TV rights deal with Comcast SportsNet is worth $2.5 billion in addition to an equity stake and some ad revenue.
— Matt Gelb (@magelb) January 3, 2014
Original Article Continued:
So the long-awaited television deal is done, but what does that really mean? Are the Phillies now in the bidding for Masahiro Tanaka? Should they go after David Price because they now may have the money to re-sign him? Do they holdout for a splurge next trade-deadline or off-season? The correct answer, would be none of the above, class.
Whether this was part of a plan or the Phillies just weren’t high on any available players this off-season, they didn’t make any huge moves. Marlon Byrd’s signing, as controversial as it was, wasn’t THAT big of a deal.
So where do the Phillies go off of that, now that they might have some more money coming their way after 2015? If they do it correctly (which is a big if) then they won’t alter the plan they had before the new television deal.
I would have been in favor of blowing things up and moving guys like Cliff Lee, in an attempt to re-tool your roster and build a youthful core, but they didn’t go that route. Instead the Phillies appear to be at a crossroads. The organization, at least publicly, still believes that the Phillies can compete next season. Fine, let’s play along with that for a second. If the Phillies are good next year, they ride their current core into the playoffs, and maybe make a few small upgrades at the trading deadline. Even if they make the playoffs, the organization would have to re-evalutate what direction they are going in with such an old roster. Obviously how far they go in the playoffs would be a deciding factor in the organizational direction plan. If they miss the playoffs again, the plan is simple–sell off players and rebuild.
Either way, blowing money shouldn’t be part of the plan. Just because the Phillies might have money, doesn’t mean that they need more bad contracts hampering the team. Even if you had more money, if you sign a player to a deal for $15-$20 million per season, you can’t just sign another player and bench them if they struggle. If Ruben Amaro can’t figure out how to build a team to have long-term success with a $150-$170 million, I’d rather not see him try to do it with a $200 million deal.