If you need any more proof of ballooning sports media rights, consider this news. In renewing its contract with the Little League World Series, ESPN will now pay double what they did in their last contract, up to $7.5 million dollars per year. While that's relative pennies for ESPN considering they pay $20 million dollars to the AAC and just sublicensed many of those rights, it's symbolic of a world where the dollar amounts are going up for everyone in sports. 12 and 13 year olds playing baseball included. Here's the report from John Ourand of SBJ:
"ESPN finalized a deal that ensures it will carry the Little League World Series through 2022.
As part of the deal with Little League International, which was first reported by SportsBusiness Journal in June, ESPN will pay around $60 million over the eight-year extension, around $7.5 million per year, sources said.
That figure doubles the $30.5 million, eight-year deal that ESPN signed in 2007.
ESPN executives have long valued Little League programming, and the new deal continues a 50-year relationship. ESPN has carried Little League World Series games every year since 1987, and it occupies large programming blocks in August — a time when there are few live events on air. ESPN’s ABC broadcast network started carrying Little League World Series games — mainly the championship game — in 1963."
I must make a confession. I don't get the appeal of the Little League World Series as a television product. I really don't get why the Little League World Series takes over ESPN airwaves during two weeks in August like it's the World Cup. The amount of LLWS coverage on ESPN is just insane. Over the last two weeks it seems like every time I've turned on ESPN recently there has been Little League baseball. And I have no interest in watching Little League Baseball in the same way I have no interest in watching Pop Warner football or a herd of small children all following a soccer ball around a field with no concept of the offside rule.
But for reasons I will clearly never understand, the Little League World Series championship game outrated Major League Baseball yesterday. With all this big network money involved in the Little League World Series, it's only a matter of time until the outcry begins to pay the players.
The Little League World Series being on ABC and ESPN is a tradition for some people, just like the Masters and CBS!
Dan Wetzel: Is it time to pay players at the Little League World
Series? Of course, it is
@awfulannouncing Nobody who is worse at sport than I am should be playing on TV.
@awfulannouncing Jerry Sandusky is thrilled.
@awfulannouncing it's awful. Fucking little cheats.
@awfulannouncing that's straight tragedy
@awfulannouncing I think its great to see kids trying to play baseball. But is it cruel to giggle when the children start to cry?
@awfulannouncing I think it's great. Their sportsmanship and heart are the perfect foil for the immoral actions of the pros.
@awfulannouncing nothing I like more than watching 180 lb supposed 10 year olds hitting baseballs out of a ridiculously small field.
@awfulannouncing well then shouldn't these kids get paid? Same argument people been saying bout NCAA making money
@awfulannouncing Does anyone watch? Ratings?
@awfulannouncing Why must they torture us?
@awfulannouncing rather have Little League than Whitlock
"I really don't get why the Little League World Series takes
over ESPN airwaves during two weeks in August like it's the World Cup.
The amount of LLWS coverage on ESPN is just insane. Over the last two
weeks it seems like every time I've turned on ESPN recently there has
been Little League baseball."
Really? Because the other 50 weeks of the year it seems like every time I've turned to ESPN, it's nothing but NFL talk, even when it's the dead middle of summer.
I'll take two weeks of LLWS (or anything, really) if it means I have to hear less and less about Tom Brady or Mark Sanchez or whatever QB is the flavor of the month.
Strange. I've never known anybody who's expressed any interest in watching Little League on TV. Who is watching it?
@awfulannouncing There is something about people watching CHILDREN that just creeps me out.
@awfulannouncing there's your one on one panel with Charissa and Gabe! Just saw this!
@MyNameIsJesseG what is more fun then cheering against 12yo foreigners like they did something to us?
@awfulannouncing great. Great great great. Great great great great great.
@awfulannouncing I think it's great. Baseball at its purest form.
@awfulannouncing I can dig it.
Apparently people watch this, considering SBJ's tweet. I just don't understand why. The only reason I know it's on ESPN each year is because it preempts PTI for a week, which disappoints me. Then again, when they come back on, that means it's officially time to start talking FOOTBALL!
Little League is a non-profit. But, then again, so is the NCAA. Unfortunately, ESPN is not.
Just more programming to fill time during commercial slots.
It would be good if the money was going out to help kids play. Less kids playing baseball than ever before. Have you seen what gloves and bats cost these days?
The advertising value of live sports cannot be overstated. DVR-proof in an era when few other things are.
@CUbsfan I guess tradition is in the eye of the beholder. The World Wide Follower of Twitter ignored the CBS Masters tradition by nudging their way into the broadcast, even though it had been carried by a network that has as many subscribers.
In fact, ESPN is so mindful of that tradition, that they fail at promoting the weekend broadcast on CBS.
@wahoosrule1 caught most of that. Very interesting.
@awfulannouncing they heard the buzz of the Internet! Or the critics. But yes the one on one was good!