SBD/23/Sports Media

YOU'RE OUUTTAA HERE: NBC, ABC LEAVE THE BASEBALL NETWORK

     MLB's national TV package "became as uncertain as its labor
situation Thursday when ABC and NBC decided to quit the sport
after this season," according to Ronald Blum of the ASSOCIATED
PRESS.  The two networks "decided to pull out of the joint
venture" when Bud Selig "refused to make a decision on renewing
it for 1996."  TBN's three-year pact will now expire after this
year's World Series.  If revenue for the first two seasons had
hit $330M, it would have renewed automatically (AP/ATLANTA
CONSTITUTION, 6/23).
          CONFIRMATIONS AND REAX:  ABC and NBC's withdrawal has
     not been officially announced by MLB, "but was confirmed by
     an owner on baseball's television committee who spoke on the
     condition that he not be identified" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
     6/23).  Rich Levin, MLB's Exec Dir of PR, also confirmed the
     story last night (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/23).  An official
     statement from the league is expected today, but before the
     story broke, TBN President Ken Schanzer said it "wouldn't
     come as a surprise."  Schanzer:  "ABC and NBC made clear
     over the past several weeks what their position was.  I'm
     saddened by it.  It would be the end of a terrific
     enterprise" (AP/Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 6/23).
          FROM THE NETS:  NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol  said
     neither network would bid on MLB's broadcast rights "through
     this century."  Ebersol:  "We have done everything to be
     good partners, and we've been treated like scum.  We're
     outta here ... and we won't be back."  More Ebersol, on the
     possibility of MLB signing with Fox:  "(Baseball) probably
     thinks that like CBS, it has another sucker in Fox to pay
     big rights fees.  But for $1 million to $1.5 million a club
     -- or $28 million to $40 million more than Fox -- they're
     trading the promotion from the number one and two networks
     for a pushcart."  ABC Sports President Dennis Swanson:  "The
     baseball network was working.  The (July 11th) All-Star Game
     has a record $18 million in ad sales, and if TBN had its
     full two years, it clearly would have exceeded its required
     goal of $330 million" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 6/23).
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