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D-backs agree to new TV deal with FOX

New deal said to be for 15 years, more than $1.5 billion

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- D-backs president/CEO Derrick Hall could not get into the specifics of the new deal the D-backs reached recently with FOX Sports Arizona to continue to broadcast games well into the future, but he could describe the impact it would have on the organization.

"This is game-changing for us," Hall said. "It puts us on par with a lot of our colleagues. Any increase in revenues as we've said in the past will go directly towards our [team] so it will help our product on the field."

The D-backs current deal with FOX Sports Arizona runs through the 2015 season and is reported to be worth around $30 million per season. The new deal is said to run more than 15 years and be worth north of $1.5 billion.

"It made sense for us to remain with FOX," Hall said. "They've been great partners. In fact we believe so much in FOX that we got creative through the process in finding other ways to make this deal more lucrative, to partner with them."

Hall did not specify what those creative ways would be, but other teams have negotiated equity stakes in their FOX regional affiliates when signing deals and it's possible that the D-backs could be getting a similar stake in FOX Sports Arizona.

Over the past couple of years the D-backs have examined all their different options when it comes to their broadcast rights before signing again with FOX Sports Arizona.

"We looked at other partners besides FOX and we looked at doing it on our own," Hall said. "At the end of the day it just made more sense to remain with FOX. They wanted to be our partner, we wanted them, they're very good at what they do. They put out a great product, they're willing to invest in our future and in the quality of the broadcast so we let the experts do what they do best and let's partner with them for a long time and in different ways. We believe in their model, we believe in their future and we thought it would be great to work shoulder to shoulder with them for a long time."

The D-backs had an Opening Day payroll of around $110 million in 2014, which was a club record. They shed some salary as the season went on and the team fell out of contention.

As of right now this year's Opening Day payroll is around $93 million.

Not included in that figure is the $16 million the D-backs spent on Cuban free agent Yoan Lopez. The right-hander received a signing bonus of a little more than $8 million and the D-backs had to pay a 100 percent penalty on that figure for going over their international signing allotment.

The pending deal with FOX Sports Arizona did have some impact on the decision to spend the money on Lopez as well as commitment of $68.5 million over six years to fellow Cuban free agent Yasmany Tomas.

"That helped our thinking knowing there was a brand new light at the end of the tunnel," Hall said.

Steve Gilbert is a reporter for Read his blog, Inside the D-backs, and follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.
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