SBD/2/Sports Media

WILL THE BASEBALL NETWORK DISH OUT EXPANDED COVERAGE?

     Officials at MLB "are preparing to descramble the pictures
for all four divisional series," according to Jack Craig in
Sunday's BOSTON GLOBE.  Craig adds, "It is hush-hush, though,
because to publicize the smart PR gesture would be an admission
of a mistake owners made in organizing The Baseball Network."
Because of MLB's "hesitancy," there is no guarantee Tuesday's
games will be available.  "It will be there when it gets there, a
baseball official said in describing the descrambling" (BOSTON
GLOBE, 10/1).  However, the BOSTON HERALD's Jim Baker notes
network officials deny the report.  NBC spokesperson Ed Markey:
"I checked and the signal will be scrambled" (BOSTON HERALD,
10/2).
     TBN NOTES:  Phil Mushnick accuses NBC Sports President Dick
Ebersol of a "flip-flop" in saying the playoff plan was devised
by MLB, not the networks (N.Y. POST, 10/2).  USA TODAY reports ad
time for the World Series and the playoffs is not sold out, with
about 20-25% of slots available.  While TBN is selling the
playoffs at $160,000 per 30-second spot and the World Series for
$260,000, media buyers say they are actually getting closer to
$90-100,000 and $160-200,000 respectively (Dottie Enrico, USA
TODAY, 10/2).
     MORE MEDIA BASHING:  In Toronto, Rob Longley notes that many
will get their first exposure to TBN this week -- "not that The
Baseball Network is going to make it easy for viewers to all of a
sudden like it" (TORONTO SUN, 10/2).  In San Francisco, Gwen
Knapp writes, "In October, baseball as entertainment becomes
virtually idiot-proof, tough to foul up.  But that hasn't stopped
The Baseball Network from trying" (S.F. EXAMINER, 10/1).  In
Miami, Barry Jackson notes the potential of games ending after
11pm switching to local news before their conclusion.  Jackson:
"Pretty pathetic" (MIAMI HERALD, 10/1).  In St. Louis, Dan Caesar
writes, "The ugly monster known as The Baseball Network is about
to be slain.  But it will go down with a furious, fire-breathing
last hurrah" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/30).
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