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ADVERTISERS TRY TO ENDURE BASEBALL'S LONGEST WINTER
Published January 6, 1995
"It is universally accepted that the presence of minor leaguers will not hold back coverage of baseball once the season starts. And sponsors apparently are willing to chance it because there is no substitute for baseball in the summer," writes Jack Craig in this morning's BOSTON GLOBE. Turner Broadcasting's head of sales Mark Mariani: "(Sponsors) don't want to be on the outside looking in in case they settle the next day." Anheuser- Busch has re-upped with The Baseball Network (NBC & ABC), as well as TBS, ESPN and 27 local broadcasts (the Brewers have an exclusivity deal with Miller). But Anheuser-Busch VP for Sports Marketing Tony Ponturo "said a financial safety valve is in place for the uncertain future." Ponturo: "All of our deals will contain audience guarantees. A rating decline will be prorated." Ponturo added that A-B could pull out if replacement players are a "turn off": "We wouldn't want to be associated with a clearly negative, awkward situation" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/6). But The Baseball Network CEO Ken Schanzer admits that there is much confusion among TBN sponsors. Some (such as True Value Hardware) have moved their money elsewhere. Schanzer: "The complexity of this thing is overwhelming" (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 1/9 issue).