SBD/27/Sports Media

THE ONLY SURE THING IN MLB'S TV DEAL IS FOX, OR IS IT?

     "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).
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