In 2007, FSN Midwest, the primary television home of the St. Louis Cardinals for the past 13 years, will increase the number of regular season games it annually televises to 130 – an increase of 20 games – as part of a multi-year extension of its long term television rights agreement with the reigning World Champion Cardinals. Details on the duration of the new agreement and value of the deal were not immediately available.
Cardinals games on over-the-air broadcast television in the St. Louis area will return next season to KSDK, NewsChannel 5, the local NBC affiliate, which was the original television home of the Cardinals, airing its first game in 1947 as KSD and continuing through 1987.
KSDK will air 20 regular season games in 2007 in the first year of a multi-year broadcast package, giving Cardinals fans 150 scheduled regular season games on local television. With additional Cardinals games slated for national broadcast partners FOX and ESPN, all 162 games in 2007 are anticipated to be televised in the St. Louis area.
The previous local rights-holder KPLR-CW11, then WB11, broadcast 41 Cardinals games last season, primarily on the weekends, so fans with over-the-air service only will have the opportunity to see fewer games starting in 2007. This move will not be appreciated by some, but was expected and is consistent with actions being taken in other major league markets.
Nationally, FSN owned- or affiliated-regional sports networks serve as the TV home to 21 of 30 MLB teams. In 2008, that will grow to at least 22. FSN Midwest also disclosed this week that they will telecast 140 Kansas City Royals games starting in 2008, effectively ending the life of RSTN, the Royals Sports Television Network. That deal is rumored to be for 12 years.
In 2007, FSN Midwest will also televise two spring training Cardinals games and deliver a package of regular season games in high definition. FSN Midwest will continue to air the Cardinals Live pregame and postgame shows each telecast, along with hundreds of hours of additional Cardinals programming.
The multi-year contract with KSDK calls for plans to broadcast 20 regular season games each season in high definition, along with two spring training games, pregame and postgame shows, and a season long weekly half-hour show devoted to Cardinals highlights, interviews and commentary.
KSDK will be the flagship station for the Cardinals Television Network, which consists of stations reaching across eight states (Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee, Indiana, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma).
The FSN Midwest/KSDK television schedule will be announced in early 2007.