The Royals have a “handshake deal” on a new television contract with Fox Sports Kansas City, according to MLB.com reporter Jeffrey Flanagan. An official announcement and a broadcast schedule for spring training and the regular season should be announced this week.
The Royals have been in negotiations with Fox Sports Kansas City for nearly a year, with Flanagan reporting that FSKC made an offer in May and the two sides were “close” on a deal back in August. According to Flanagan, the deal discussed at the time would be 10 to 15 years in length, worth around $48 to $52 million per year.
The Royals were under an 11-year deal that expired at the end of last season that was considered one of the smallest regional sports television deals in baseball, paying the Royals on average about $20 million per season. Since then, there has been an explosion of lucrative broadcast deals around baseball, with even smaller market clubs enjoying significant increases to their revenue streams. The Royals have consistently been one of the best drawing teams on television in their market, even during their 100-loss seasons.
Complicating negotiations was the purchase of Fox Sports Kansas City and other Fox regional sports networks by communications giant Sinclair Broadcast Group. That deal was approved back in August, but Sinclair has been known for being a tough negotiator and with their new assets, had significant leverage. Their CEO Chris Ripley has indicated he would like to integrate gambling into broadcasts, although no plans have yet been announced. FSKC has also not officially announced if Rex Hudler and Steve Physioc will be on broadcasts again this summer.
More details as they come.
Tuesday update: The Royals announce a spring training schedule with FSKC, with Steve Physioc, Ryan Lefebvre, Rex Hudler, Joel Goldberg, and Jeff Montgomery returning.
Our #RoyalsST TV schedule has been announced. pic.twitter.com/7PhhPVwqMX— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) February 18, 2020
Flanny also says the deal may be shorter than originally proposed.
Hearing that one of the snags that slowed down talks between the Royals and FSKC before they agreed to a new deal was the deal's length. The previous deal was 11 years -- this one believed to be more in the 6-to-8 year range. Media giants concerned about the future TV landscape.— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) February 18, 2020