SBD/25/Sports Media

OWNERS LOOK TO THE BASEBALL NETWORK TO PUMP UP EARNINGS

     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).
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