SBD/19/Sports Media

ESPN STEPS UP TO THE PLATE WITH MLB RADIO AGREEMENT

          MLB and ESPN Radio reached a five-year agreement giving
     ESPN Radio exclusive domestic regular- and post-season
     broadcast rights.  ESPN Radio is broadcast across the U.S.
     by ABC Radio Networks.  The deal includes coverage of all
     post-season games; the World Series; the All-Star Game and
     All-Star events; a full schedule of regular-season games
     each year; Sunday Night MLB game of the week; one game every
     Saturday in September; at least two games every holiday and
     Opening Day; two additional "Pennant Race" games each week
     in September; as well as major award announcements and the
     Winter Meetings (ESPN).  In N.Y., Richard Sandomir puts the
     five-year deal at $40M (N.Y. TIMES, 9/19).  
          OFF CBS: The deal ends MLB's 21-year relationship with
     CBS Radio, and the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER'S Stephen Battaglio
     reports that CBS did not want to renew its MLB package,
     "which had been unprofitable in recent years."  MLB's radio
     network broadcasts "lost several major sponsors after the
     players' strike" and "made others skittish about signing
     on."  Battaglio adds while CBS affils "liked having the
     crown jewel events ... [they] griped about having to carry
     so many regular-season games."  ESPN will develop a radio
     version of "Baseball Tonight" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 9/19).  

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