With a deadline of Friday to get a deal done, Fox and the Los Angeles Dodgers could agree to a TV deal according to the LA Times worth over $6 billion, more than 20 times what the team is making on their current TV deal. This would put the Dodgers at the top of the class in terms of MLB TV rights.
The proposed deal the Dodgers and Fox are discussing would be worth $240 million per season. In 2013, the Yankees will make $85 million for their rights, nearly a third of the Dodgers deal. Even contrasting the Dodgers' potential new deal with that of the Lakers, the Dodgers have an extreme financial advantage. The Lakers will make $120 million this year, the first of a 20 year pact with Time Warner that will average $180 million.
Fox is in a position to create a behemoth here, especially when you look at what they did on the east coast last week by purchasing 49% of the YES Network. If Fox essentially controls the rights to both the Yankees and Dodgers, those two teams are going to continue to operate with sky-high payrolls thanks to the unreal revenue streams brought in by their TV deals. Consider that the Atlanta Braves, in a large market, are making an average of $12 million per season on their current TV deal, which isn't close to expiring. The proposed deal between the Dodgers and Fox will pay them 20 times what the Braves make in an entire season. That is an incredible competitive advantage for a team that already has several advantages over other teams in the league.
After the Dodgers domino falls, where will the next big TV deal fall? Small market teams like the Padres and Astros have just launched RSNs, and the Red Sox and Mets have been in that business for years. Where you want to look is in two large markets where contracts are expiring shortly: Chicago and Philadelphia. The Cubs WGN contract expires after 2014, and while only half of their games air on WGN, Comcast will likely make a large bid to acquire all of the team's games and make WGN solely a White Sox station. The Phillies contract with Comcast expires after 2015, and while it's extremely unlikely that the Phillies would abandon Comcast in its home city, I could see Fox attempting to make a play. The Phillies do have a stake in CSN Philadelphia (the first Comcast RSN), but Fox might be crazy enough to try to throw Dodger-level money at the Phillies and at least make them think about a switch. Again: doubtful, but interesting to think about as Fox looks to aggressively expand their reach.