Rangers' bankruptcy hearing postponed, but that may not be a big deal

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The next act in the Rangers’ bankruptcy drama was set for July 9th, but Daniel Kaplan of Sports Business Journal just reported that the hearing set for that date has been postponed until July 22nd.  The most important date for baseball purposes, however, is July 31st, which is the trade deadline. Does this delay put the Rangers’ emergence from bankruptcy and closing the sale by then — and thus any deadline trades — in peril?

Not necessarily. That’s because Kaplan’s tweet also reveals that the mediation between the parties is now scheduled for July 16th.  Indeed, I’d guess that it was the scheduling of that mediation — as opposed to any trouble among the parties — that lead to the hearing postponement. A hearing without a mediation first makes no sense, after all.  At the same time, a hearing after a productive mediation could prove to be something close to a formality.

Upshot: the 16th is the key date. If the parties can come to an agreement that they all think the judge will sign off on, Major League Baseball may very well give the Rangers the authority to make the kinds of moves they feel they need to make before the deadline, knowing that new ownership will come on board shortly to, you know, pay for them. If it’s an ugly mediation and things turn sour, things will be different, but that was the case whether it took place on the 5th, the 9th, the 16th or the 12th of never.

My guess: this is no big deal. 

Fox, MLB sign broadcast rights extension through 2028

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FOX Sports and Major League Baseball announced a few minutes ago that they have agreed to a multi-year broadcast rights extension. The deal keeps Fox as the lead MLB rights holder, and home of the World Series, All-Star Game and a good chunk of the playoffs through at least 2028.

While the press release does not announce the financial terms, Bob Nightengale of USA Today is reporting that it will pay Major League Baseball about 30-40% more than the previous contract. While ratings are not what they used to be, it would seem that the eyeballs Fox is getting are more valuable to it.

UPDATE: That bump is actually even bigger:

For the time being, things will look very much like they do now. Starting in 2022, there will be more games broadcast. There are no specifics about how many more. The release says “FOX Sports will also expand its digital rights,” but again, no specifics on what that means, exactly.

FOX Sports has been a baseball rights-holder since 1996 and has been the exclusive national non-cable rights holder since 2001. That’s gonna continue for at least another decade.