SBD/26/Sports Media

CBS NO LONGER A "PLAYER" FOR MLB? ABC/ESPN OFFER BID

     ABC and ESPN have presented a combined offer to become a
partner with Fox to broadcast MLB games in a new five-year
contract.  The offer, made to MLB TV negotiator Barry Frank,
"might be for a combined $100 million a year for the postseason,
with ESPN paying about $40 million," according to USA TODAY's
Rudy Martzke.  ABC's Mark Mandel would not comment on any
ABC/ESPN offer.  Frank has returned to New York and "is expected
to confer further with ABC, CBS and possibly NBC in an effort to
obtain an acceptable second network offer."  Frank reportedly
told parties that CBS is no longer "a player," but CBS officials
claim they are still in the picture (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY,
10/26).
     TUNED IN:  Ratings for Tuesday's Game 3 telecast were up 32%
from two years ago, drawing a 20.2 rating and 34 share.  Those
numbers are up from a 15.2 rating and 28 share for the third game
in '93 between the Phillies and Blue Jays.  The '95 three-game
average is 18.8, around 16% higher than the 16.2 in
'93 (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 10/26).
     START TIME:  Despite the excitement of Game 3, "how many
people in the Eastern time zone ... do you think were still in
front of the TV awake ... at 12:42 am?" asks Tim Tucker in
Atlanta.  Tucker writes that MLB execs "should insist" that
weeknight postseason games start earlier (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
10/26).  But Phillies President/TV Committee member Bill Giles
says "its far from certain that future Series games will start
earlier" with a new deal.  Giles points out that 5 million "more
people were watching that game at 11:30 than 8:30. ... There's no
question we get lower ratings when we start at 7:30. ... The
ratings from 7:30-8:00 really drag down the whole night. ... Is
it more important to have 200,000 kids watching earlier in the
night than it is to have an extra 5 million older people watching
later?" (Jayson Stark, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 10/26).
     HANNAH VS. THE VOLCANO:  The Indians' Albert Belle may face
disciplinary action from the Commissioner's Office and the
American League for his outburst in the dugout prior to Game 3 in
which he "was verbally abusive to several members of the press,"
particularly NBC's Hannah Storm.  MLB spokesperson Jim Small:
"Officially, it is what we considered abusive behavior toward her
and the media ... It is something we are concerned about and
something Bud Selig and Gene Budig are going to look at"
(Baltimore SUN, 10/26).
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