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Phillies extend television partnership with Comcast SportsNet

The Phillies and Comcast SportsNet have finalized a contract that will extend their television partnership well beyond 2015, when the previous deal was set to expire, the Daily News has learned. Terms of the new contract are unknown at this point.

A Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia spokesman confirmed the deal but declined to offer terms.

"We're pleased to confirm that NBCUniversal and Comcast SportsNet have signed a new long-term deal with the Philadelphia Phillies that will expand Comcast SportsNet's role as the Phillies' primary TV partner," the spokesman said. "Although the terms of the comprehensive deal are confidential, details surrounding the 2014 schedule of games will be provided in the coming months."

The Phillies previous deal is believed to have paid them a rights fee in the neighborhood of $35 million per season, although the team was also entitled to the advertising revenue from the broadcasts, so it is difficult to judge exactly how much money the club was pocketing each season.

There are a number of different incarnations that a new deal could take. The Los Angeles Angels will reportedly receive $147 million per year plus a 25 percent equity stake from Fox Sports West. The Rangers will get $80 million per year and a 10 percent equity stake while collecting a one-time $100 million fee. The Astros and Padres, two small market teams, will each pocket at least $60 million per year in fees while also enjoying equity stakes of at least 20 percent.

How much the new deal will impact the Phillies' ability to spend is unclear. The team has known for the last year that it was closing in on a new deal with Comcast Sports Net, yet the Phillies have trimmed their payroll during that time and have remained on the sidelines in bidding for the most expensive free agents this offseason. They could, however, make a play for one of the top starting pitchers who are on the market, including Japanese star Masahiro Tanaka, former Cub and Ray Matt Garza, former Angel and Royal Ervin Santana, and former Rockie and Indian Ubaldo Jimenez.

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