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CABLE TALKS HOLDING UP BASEBALL DEAL?
Published November 1, 1995
TV execs familiar with the baseball negotiations "all but conceded yesterday" that Fox, NBC, ESPN and Turner would be carrying MLB next season, according to Steve Zipay in today's NEWSDAY. But one source said, "The cable side isn't set in stone." Any deals negotiated by Barry Frank, MLB's chief TV representative, would have to be voted on by MLB's Exec Committee and then the entire ownership. One baseball "insider" cautions: "It could be weeks away." According to Zipay, the nets are seeking strike and lockout insurance and provisions for possible realignment and interleague play (NEWSDAY, 11/1). USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke reports a "snag" in cable talks involving Turner, which pulled its offer of $20M+ a year for half the postseason after MLB rejected Ted Turner's request to keep the Braves on TBS. (TBS is converting to basic cable under the Time Warner merger). MLB hopes wither ESPN will pick up all Divisional Series cable games, or that Turner will reconsider. Still, the fact MLB may get $1.5B for its five-year TV package had media buyer Paul Schulman praising Frank (USA TODAY, 11/1).