Raising the stakes in its programming battle with rival Sirius Satellite, XM Radio has forged an 11-year, $650 million deal with Major League Baseball.
Raising the stakes in its programming battle with rival Sirius Satellite, XM Radio has forged an 11-year, $650 million deal with Major League Baseball. Revealed today (Oct. 20) by MLB commissioner Bud Selig and XM CEO Hugh Panero at a press conference at MLB's New York offices, the pact calls for XM to carry games from every major league team beginning next year.
Panero called the agreement "the crown jewel -- the deal we've been waiting for.
"MLB has the broadest appeal of any major sport," Panero added. "People of all ages are baseball fans, from children to grandparents. Baseball is also a sport ideally suited for radio, given its natural pace and the ability to vividly describe each play."
In addition to broadcasting live games, XM will create a Major League Baseball radio channel featuring original content and classic baseball broadcasts. XM also will broadcast select games in Spanish.
The deal underscores the fierce competition between the two satellite broadcasters to attract premium, subscription-bait programming. In a major coup two weeks ago, Sirius announced a five-year deal with Howard Stern valued at $500 million. In the same week, XM began airing bad boys Opie & Anthony, back on air after being exiled from terrestrial radio.
In partnering with Major League Baseball, XM becomes a bigger contender in the sports radio arena, adding to its NASCAR and college sports offerings. Sirius is already airing its first season of National Football League games and is the exclusive satellite radio outlet for the NHL.
Selig applauded the deal for "providing baseball fans greater access to more games in more locations."