The Milwaukee Bucks will return to Fox Sports Wisconsin next season after the two sides agreed to a new seven year deal for the team’s broadcast rights. If you want a good sign of Giannis Antetoukounmpo’s value to the franchise, consider that the previous deal paid the team $20 million per season on average. Next year that figure will climb to $26 million and escalator clauses will bring the yearly average of the contract to around $30 million.
The new deal with the Bucks is the first Fox has negotiated since March when the company’s Fox Sports Southeast agreed to pay the Charlotte Hornets around $20 million per year. It also continues a trend for Fox as they negotiate rights deals for their regional sports networks even as those same networks are in the process of being sold off to Disney. Disney offered $52.4 billion for Fox’s RSNs and entertainment assets. Comcast is also planning to bid for those same assets, but Disney and Fox shareholders will vote to approve the deal between those companies next month.
The Buck’s popularity is increasing thanks to their success on the court and the rise of Antetoukounmpo’s profile. Local broadcasts on Fox Sports Wisconsin saw ratings climb by 6% in the 2017-2018 season according to John Ourand at Sports Business Daily. The team’s home attendance also rose by 6% last season. That number should continue to climb as the team moves into its new arena in downtown Milwaukee.