The Giants signed a 25-year deal with Comcast Sports Net before the 2008 season. It’s actually a partnership agreement. Rather than accept a set payment for broadcast rights every year, the Giants actually get a big chunk of the total revenue each year. I’ve heard that figure at 30 percent and 33 percent.
How much is that in cold cash? I honestly can’t say. Those numbers are proprietary.
The first thing I can tell you is, there is no way that Comcast Sports Net Bay Area can collect the same revenue as the Dodgers will for their TV deal for the simple fact that Los Angeles is the No. 2 television market in the country and the San Francisco Bay Area is No. 5. Revenue in these deals is based on how many eyeballs are glued to TV sets. Los Angeles has a lot more eyeballs, millions more. By the same token, Denver, Phoenix and San Diego are much smaller TV markets, so Comcast and the Giants are able to command more dollars than the teams in those NL West cities.
The bigger question is how the Giants will be able to keep up with the Dodgers, Cubs, Diamondbacks, etc… who sign ever-richer deals every four, five or six years when the Giants are stuck with a 25-year arrangement. The answer lies in how Comcast Sports Net makes its money.
Advertising is a part of it, but the big money comes from Comcast Sports Net selling its product, the Giants broadcasts, to DirecTV, Dish Network and all the cable-television firms that deliver the games to your TV set. The amount that Comcast charges them will go up many times over the course of the 25-year deal.