By Barry Janoff
May 17, 2012: Major League Baseball and Turner Broadcasting System said today that TBS would be the exclusive broadcast home of the new American League and National League wild card games in 2012 and 2013.
The new single-game elimination is the first change MLB has made to its post-season since initiating the six-division, eight-team playoff structure in 1995.
Beginning this season, MLB's playoff format will start with two wild card teams — which would be non-division winners with the two best records — in the AL and two in the NL playing a single-elimination game. Each winner then advances to compete with the three respective division champions in the Division Series.
MLB also said that two Division Series games in each of the 2012 and 2013 playoffs would move from TBS to MLB Network.
TBS will also continue to televise any needed regular season tie-breaker games. TBS and Fox rotate exclusive coverage of league championship series, with TBS this season broadcasting the ALCS.
"We are delighted that Turner has extended its partnership with Major League Baseball," Tim Brosnan, evp-business for MLB, said during a media conference call regarding baseball's 35-year alliance with the media company. "They have been nothing but brilliant in this partnership, especially in the last round of television [contracts], where they have been a post-season partner. I can't tell you how pleased we are, how pleased ownership is and the commissioner is that Turner has decided to expand the partnership."
"I can't tell you how pleased we are, how pleased ownership is and the commissioner is that Turner has decided to expand the partnership."
In addition to the MLB post-season, TBS televises a 26-game Sunday MLB on TBS regular season schedule and is the exclusive home of the 2012 MLB All-Star Selection Show airing July 1.
According to David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports for Turner, "This is an exciting time for baseball, the fans, our advertisers and Turner. We believe the additional single-elimination wild card spots will build upon the popularity of the sport and will serve as a great launching pad for our Division Series and ALCS coverage on TBS.”
Added Brosnan, "We are expecting nothing less than more great baseball broadcasting."