Padres close to new television contract with FOX Sports

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Padres chief executive officer Jeff Moorad has said repeatedly that the team’s next television deal would lead to a significant increase in revenue and payroll, and it looks like that deal will be with FOX Sports.

Jay Posner of the San Diego Union Tribune reports that “the Padres and Fox Sports Regional Networks are very close to an agreement in principle for a new network called Fox Sports San Diego to carry Padres games beginning with the 2012 season.”

MLB must sign off on the deal, but that’s expected to be a formality.

Padres games have been on Channel 4 San Diego for the past 15 years, but with the contract ending this season the assumption has always been that the team would find a new broadcast partner. According to Posner the Padres currently generate about $16 million per season in television revenue. Moorad has said that next season’s payroll will rise to at least $50 million and the Padres intend to be in the $70 million range eventually, although by the time that happens $70 million will likely be among MLB’s lowest payrolls.