THE SAGA OF THE RED SOX TV DEAL CONTINUES
Published November 30, 1995
The Red Sox and WABU-TV both denied a Wednesday BOSTON GLOBE report that the team will announce it has moved games to the Boston University-owned WABU next year, ending a 21-year association with WSBK. In today's BOSTON HERALD, Red Sox Broadcast Dir Jim Healy said the station choice "is not determined yet," and that WABU or WLVI could carry games. WABU President & CEO Bob Gordon: "I don't have a deal with anybody" (Jim Baker, BOSTON HERALD, 11/30). Yesterday, the GLOBE reported the selection of WABU was made "with team approval" by Kevin Dunn, whose KSA Communications purchased Red Sox TV rights for $67M over five years. One attraction of WABU to Dunn is its willingness to provide added air time, even in the offseason. The strength of WABU's signal is "debatable," but, according to the GLOBE's Jack Craig, the "justification" for Dunn's bid, reportedly $3M more than the next highest, is a plan to establish a New England Red Sox network enabling him to sell ads for higher prices. Skeptics doubt Dunn's ability to profit and even "survive" for the term of the deal (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/29). Today, the HERALD quotes WSBK GM Stu Tauber as saying Dunn's plan is "fraught with problems." For starters, at least one-quarter or more has been lost in terms of selling ads for next season. In addition, Tauber notes difficulties in clearing time in other New England markets. One source at Paramount, parent company of WSBK, said the belief is the Red Sox will use Dunn for one year, "make a couple of million more," and then go back to the market when he fails. The source: "The story here is greed, pure and simple. You're dealing with Sox accountants who don't know how to deal with people and negotiate" (Jim Baker, BOSTON HERALD, 11/30).