Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig was given a two-year contract extension that will keep him in the job through 2014, delaying retirement that he had planned for this year.
Selig, 77, who had said several times in recent years that he would step down when his contract was up at the end of 2012, accepted the extension at the request of the league’s owners, Major League Baseball said in a news release.
Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Selig’s compensation may reach $25 million annually, according to USA Today. The pay is tied to the sport’s revenue, which is more than $7 billion a year, the newspaper reported without citing the source of its information.
“It is an honor to be asked to continue to serve the game of baseball, and I thank the clubs for their confidence in the direction in which we have taken the game,” Selig said in a statement.
Baseball and its players union reached a five-year collective bargaining agreement in November that guarantees labor peace will stretch to 22 years in a sport marked by work stoppages early in Selig’s tenure.
Baseball set attendance records under Selig in each season from 2004 to 2007, when it was 79.5 million. It’s dropped in recent years as the U.S. has faced economic difficulties, though it was more than 73 million last season, the fifth-highest in history and the most since 2008.
The television audience for late season’s World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers averaged 19 percent higher than the 2010 championship between the Rangers and San Francisco Giants. The Cardinals’ Game 7 win over the Rangers had 25.4 million viewers, the most-watched World Series game since the Boston Red Sox ended their 86-year championship drought in 2004.
Selig became the acting commissioner in 1992 following the resignation of Fay Vincent. He was voted to the position on a permanent basis by league owners in 1998.
Selig is the ninth major-league commissioner. Entering his 21st season in the job, he’s already second in tenure behind Kenesaw Mountain Landis, the first commissioner, who led the sport from 1920 to 1944.
He oversaw the realignment of teams into three divisions per league, the creation of interleague play and the expansion of the playoffs with the wild-card entry for top non-division winners.
He also led the sport through a 1994 players’ strike that wiped out the World Series, and an era of performance-enhancing drug use that altered baseball’s record books, led to congressional inquiries and eventually strengthened doping rules.
The latest collective bargaining agreement includes the first blood tests for human growth hormone at the top level of North American professional team sports.