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CASUALTIES CONTINUE TO MOUNT IN BASEBALL NETWORK DISPUTE
Published July 5, 1995
MLB team execs "were surprised and saddened last week to hear of the resignation of 12-year MLB veteran David Allworth," VP of MLB's broadcasting department. According to the latest BROADCASTING & CABLE, Allworth's departure stems from a "disagreement" with The Baseball Network President Ken Schanzer over MLB's future TV strategy. B&C reports, "Sources say Allworth had encouraged team owners to exercise their option to renegotiate the terms of the TBN venture with ABC and NBC. One MLB source: "He felt the league had nothing to lose because there appears to be significant interest by outside parties, including Fox and CBS." Schanzer, according to sources, "sided with NBC and ABC, and was trying to persuade the league to discount the first strike-hampered year of TBN and enter year three of the venture before considering other options." Yankees Exec VP David Sussman: "The news [of Allworth's departure] was like a thunderbolt, and I was shocked. Baseball is losing a consummate professional and a great resource person on broadcasting issues" (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 7/3 issue). MORE TBN FALLOUT: Writing the guest "TV Column" in USA TODAY this morning, Turner Sports President Harvey Schiller said his network is "very interested" in carrying part of MLB's package while maintaining their Braves coverage (USA TODAY, 7/5)....Some media buyers believe that confusion over coverage of this year's postseason could diminish sales of TBN's remaining ad spots. TBN claims to have sold 50% of World Series avails (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 7/3)....In Baltimore, Milton Kent notes that the cost to USA TODAY for running NBC and ABC's side to the TBN story without a response to MLB will be one full-page ad in the paper. USA TODAY promised the league free space (a five- figure value) as a way to "placate" MLB leadership (Baltimore SUN, 7/4). ....In Miami, Barry Jackson writes that if he were Fox and got baseball, he would hire Bob Costas away from NBC for the lead baseball job, as well as giving him a newsmagazine show (MIAMI HERALD, 6/30)....In San Francisco, Bruce Adams notes that ABC and NBC officials say they don't want MLB talking to CBS and Fox until after the current deal expires on October 31. Adams writes, "If ABC and NBC are so disgusted, why not step aside now and let CBS and Fox ... begin negotiations on next season's package. Sounds almost like a ploy. Some insiders say ABC and NBC simply are not happy with their share of revenues from advertising sales and wants a bigger piece of the action" (S.F. EXAMINER, 7/1).