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THE ONLY SURE THING IN MLB'S TV DEAL IS FOX, OR IS IT?
Published October 27, 1995
"What is being discussed for a new five-year deal -- or maybe it's four -- [for MLB coverage] seems to change by the day, even by the minute," writes Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. He notes the "only nearly-sure thing" in baseball TV negotiations is that Fox will televise Saturday afternoon games as well as half the post-season and three of the next five World Series, all for $105-120M annually. "What could kill Fox off? Asking it to raise its offer." Although some reports have CBS out of the running because Westinghouse "couldn't bring itself to approve" an $80M/year deal, Phillies Owner Bill Giles disputes that, saying, "They're still in it." CBS Sports President David Kenin and MLB TV negotiator Barry Frank reportedly talked yesterday. Sandomir's advice: "The smartest thing for CBS to do is junk the idea of a prime-time regular season package and bid for half the post-season." But if CBS "is on the outs, no other network will buy into airing regular season games." ABC, according to some reports, is seeking to buy the rights to half the postseason. Sandomir: "Even more intriguing is the remote possibility of NBC's re-entry" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/27). AND THE RADIO: In Houston, Carlton Thompson criticizes CBS Radio for not allowing stations to pick up their World Series broadcasts if the station did not carry the full CBS Radio MLB package. "Apparently, baseball doesn't need us, the fans. At least that's the message sent with this all-or-nothing radio package" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 10/27). RATINGS: Preliminary overnights for Game 5 of the Series generated a 19.8 rating with a 31 share. The first three games averaged an 18.8 (Nielsen Sports Marketing).