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OWNERS LOOK TO THE BASEBALL NETWORK TO PUMP UP EARNINGS
Published May 25, 1995
With attendance and local cable and TV ratings all down, MLB owners hope The Baseball Network "not only will draw viewers back but also pump millions into the 28 teams," according to USA TODAY's Hal Bodley. The current estimate: $5-7M a team this year. Paul Schulman, president of Paul Schulman Co., whose agency represents clients such as Ralston-Purina and ITT Sheraton: "All we've read about ESPN and local [ratings] doesn't mean a thing to The Baseball Network. TBN begins on July 11 with the All-Star Game. It's going to be the highest rating of the summer. Last year's game was a huge success, and this year will be even bigger." Phillies President Bill Giles, chair of the owners' TV commitee, says TBN's spots are selling for twice as much as CBS got in the final year of their contract. TBN has sold $135M in ads at $330,000 per :30 -- $20,000 more than last year's rate. Still, since TBN is unlikely to reach its two-year $330M sales goal, owners will vote on August on whether to continue with TBN. Giles: "We've scheduled three or four meetings over the next three weeks to discuss what direction we should go" (USA TODAY, 5/25).