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MORE TV STATIONS EXPRESS CONCERN OVER REPLACEMENT BASEBALL
Published March 22, 1995
"There has been a lot of speculation about whether the owners or the players will blink first in the 7-month-old baseball strike, but a critical third party is about to make its presence felt -- television," according to C.W. Nevius in today's SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE. KRON-TV said yesterday it will reduce the number of A's games it will televise in April, "a move that will be watched closely" by other TV stations around the country. According to sources, KRON included a provision in its contract with the A's specifying that a certain number of players must be of "major league caliber" to keep the agreement -- and the payments to the team -- in effect. Other stations around the country have similar stipulations in their contracts. KTVT- Dallas is reportedly considering declaring its contract with the Rangers "null and void" because of a clause stating that 75% of "returning players" must be of big-league quality. KRON, an NBC affiliate, is not blacking out coverage entirely, but will only show three A's games in April. The station regularly carries seven games in April. All three games will be played on weekends -- April 8, 16, 23. NBC's prime-time schedule has made a "significant rebound," and KRON does not want to cut into its "successful" weeknight schedule for replacement baseball (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/22). OTHER MARKETS: S.F.'s KTVU, which carries the Giants and also owns a stake in the team, will televise a regular schedule of games. In Minneapolis, WCCO's Tim Scanlon said the station is planning on showing games, but will cut back on production expenses (SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 3/22). In Houston, KTXH-TV, which planned to air about 65 Astros games this year, said sales of baseball related advertising are off 90%. KTXH VP/GM Mike Dunlop: "It's a disaster. The revenue picture is as bleak as bleak can be." For now, the station has no plans to air replacement games. They would rather save on production and travel costs. The station is also refusing to pay the Astros a licensing fee for replacement games (Greg Hassell, HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 3/22). The Red Sox and WSBK-TV Boston are still reworking the station's $17M contract for this year (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/21). The station has agreed to televise four exhibition games that were already planned. As for the talks with the Red Sox, WSBK GM Stu Tauber said "talks are going well": "We're not in a contentious situation at all. We have a sympathetic rights holder" (Jim Baker, BOSTON HERALD, 3/22). In New York, columnist Ira Berkow examines WABC's lawsuit against the Yankees: "The question comes down not so much to whether a contract is a contract, but the quality of the goods bargained for" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/22).