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MLB, MLBPA sign multi-year video game extension with Sony

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have struck a multi-year contract extension with Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) and its San Diego Studio development subsidiary for the continued production of the licensed simulation video game, MLB: The Show.

The deal will maintain the annual development of the game, which debuted in 1997 and will return early next year with MLB: The Show 20 with Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez as the cover athlete. Notably, the new contract term calls for a first-time expansion of the game franchise beyond the Sony PlayStation to other gaming console platforms as early as 2021. More details on that console expansion will be released at a future date.

Financial terms were not disclosed. But clues can be found in the union’s annual report, known as the LM-2, filed with the US Department of Labor. That report for 2018 showed that SIE paid the MLBPA $7.9m for the year to have player licensing rights for the game, second highest among all union licensees. The figure was down from the $9.8m Sony paid in 2017. 

While SIE continues to produce the high-end simulation MLB: The Show, MLB also will again maintain its own video gaming franchise, RBI Baseball, which is a revival of the popular early 1990s game and offers a more casual form of play. Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich will be the 2020 cover athlete for that game.