ESPN helps Dodgers, Angels cover more payroll moving forward

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The Dodgers know their pending local rights TV deal will provide a major source of cash windfall, starting in 2014.

With that comes some more ESPN dollars to spend on the side.

Call it green energy.

In a contract extension so big even Major League Baseball is breathlessly referring to it as “a new all-time record” for the its broadcasting rights, ESPN will pay a reported $5.6 billion over the next eight years, the two announced today.

The package, which averages $700 million a year, doubles the current $306 million a year agreement and includes another $50 million in digital, radio and international rights.

Meaning, the Dodgers and Angels stand to receive somewhere around $25 million each a season from the split among the 30 teams, up from about $12 million currently, just from ESPN alone.

The added bonus for ESPN is that it gets one of the two wild-card games starting in 2014, alternating between an NL or AL game, as well as carrying any regular-season tie-breakers that need to be played.

ESPN will continue its regular Sunday night showcase game in prime time, as well as windows on Monday and Wednesday. By agreeing to show up to 90 games a season, that increases the current deal by 13 percent.

Content was also increased for its “Baseball Tonight” studio show as well as some MLB Production specials that will be carried on ESPN.

ESPN has also made a commitment to include each of the 30 MLB teams at least once per season in a live game telecast.

ESPN started televising MLB games in 1990.

MLB commissioner Bud Selig said that the “level of ESPN’s commitment ot baseball – both financially and through its expanded content – is a testament to the strength of our game and its unprecedented popularity among our fans.”

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