SBD/1/Sports Media

CABLE TALKS HOLDING UP BASEBALL DEAL?

     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).
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