SBD/29/Sports Media

EBERSOL SAYS MLB IS "CONFUSED"; OFFERS APOLOGY TO FOX

     NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol "yesterday accused
baseball officials of reneging on at least two oral pledges to
protect The Baseball Network, and said the sport is in a
'completely confused state,'" according to Milton Kent in this
morning's BALTIMORE SUN.  Ebersol:  "On two specific occasions,
the bodies responsible for determining the course of baseball
said words that were very specific.  There's no question that the
economic realities of baseball have changed a lot in a year, but
from where I'm coming from, a man's word is never something
that's to be given in convenience."  Ebersol said he and ABC
Sports President Dennis Swanson had waited since April for word
from MLB whether or not it had an interest in extending the terms
of TBN, but did not get a response.  Ebersol:  "It was just sort
of delay, delay, delay.  I made innumerable airplane flights and
what sounded like hundreds of phone calls to reach a resolution."
Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig did not respond specifically to
Ebersol's charges, but said:  "All we said was we wanted to be
good partners.  Partnerships are two way streets" (Baltimore SUN,
6/29).
     NO HARD FEELINGS, EH MATE?  Yesterday, Ebersol also said he
was sorry for calling Fox "a pushcart."  Ebersol:  "I regret the
choice of words.  The quote was unfortunate.  I'm sorry that a
quote about a company then turned into personalities."  He also
said he actually called Fox "a pushcart platform" -- not just a
pushcart (Ronald Blum, AP/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 6/29).
     THE MILL BEGINS TO GRIND:  Speculation about what next for
MLB's national TV presence continues.  John Mansell, an analyst
with Paul Kagen Associates, says Fox and CBS are the obvious
front-runners, and "the price tag" for baseball "might not scrape
rock bottom."  Mansell:  "We know Fox was willing to take a loss
for its NFL package.  Possibly, you could be looking at a deal
approaching half a billion dollars" (Bill Koenig, USA TODAY
BASEBALL WEEKLY, 6/28 issue).  Terry Blount of the HOUSTON
CHRONICLE says "baseball may have done something right by letting
ABC and NBC quit before they were fired," and believes Fox is
"where baseball is headed in 1996" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/28).
According to Steve Zipay, Turner Sports "confirmed yesterday that
it had contacted baseball about possibly acquiring rights to
postseason games" (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 6/29).
     JUMBOTRONS, COAST TO COAST!  YEAH, THAT'S THE TICKET:  Major
League Baseball International has set up big screen televisions
in high- traffic areas in eight Japanese cities -- including
Tokyo and Osaka -- for tonight's NHK broadcast of the
Dodgers/Rockies game featuring Hideo Nomo (MLB).
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