Thursday, May 17, 2012
Updated: May 18, 7:37 AM ET
Division Series moves to 2-3 format
ESPN.com news services
NEW YORK -- Baseball's owners have approved changing the format of this year's AL and NL Division Series from a 2-2-1 format to a 2-3 format, giving the team with home-field advantage the last three games of the five-game series.
The change, approved by owners on Thursday, was made to accommodate baseball's new one-game, wild-card playoff round. The new round of playoffs was added after schedules were set with the regular season ending Oct. 3 and the World Series starting Oct. 24.
Teams with home-field advantage will host Games 3, 4 and 5, eliminating one travel day, and the wild-card playoff winners will start the division series at home.
The division series matching the Nos. 2 and 3 seed will begin Saturday, Oct. 6, while the matchup involving the No. 1 seed and the wild-card winner is scheduled to start Sunday, Oct. 7, according to a source.
Baseball could revert back to a 2-2-1 format in 2013, when the regular season is tentatively set to start on April 1, with a Sunday night game possible the previous day. Baseball is shifting from the midweek start it used in 2011 and 2012.
The 2-2-1 format has been used in the divisional round since 1998.
Baseball also announced its new one-game, wild-card playoffs will be televised Oct. 5 by TBS and that two division series games will shift from TBS to the MLB Network under a deal running through 2013. TBS Sports president David Levy said a rights fee was involved.
The two division series games will be available in more than 30 million fewer homes on MLB Network than on TBS -- that includes some hometown fans of the teams playing.
Information from ESPN.com's Jayson Stark and The Associated Press was used in this report.