SBD/11/Sports Media

ARE ESPN AND MLB HEADED FOR AN IN-SEASON "DIVORCE?"

          MLB and ESPN are "headed for a messy, in-season
     divorce," with Turner Sports possibly "assuming custody of
     ESPN's national cable TV baseball rights," according to
     Sherman & Mushnick in Saturday's N.Y. POST.  After ESPN
     acquired the entire NFL Sunday night schedule, it announced
     that it would move its September Sunday night MLB games to
     ESPN2.  But sources told Sherman & Mushnick that "if Sunday
     nights in September don't include baseball on ESPN, MLB will
     seek to immediately void" its six-year, $255M deal with
     ESPN, which is due to expire after the '99 season.  The same
     sources said that MLB "has inquired as to Turner's interests
     in the MLB package, an inquiry that was met with an
     enthusiastic response."  A Turner spokesperson declined
     comment, but said that Turner "has always held a high and
     active regard" for MLB (N.Y. POST, 5/9).  Mushnick writes
     today that an ESPN spokesperson said yesterday that the
     network "is committed to maintaining its contracted
     relationship with MLB in spite of a growing concern that
     baseball will seek to void its contract" (N.Y. POST, 5/11). 
          OLBERMANN'S TAKE: In his SportsFan Radio Network
     commentary, Keith Olbermann says that ESPN's "Baseball
     Tonight," the "only" sports newscast permitted to show MLB
     highlights of games in-progress, "is part of the network's
     deal with baseball and would presumably also go away" if the
     deal is voided.  Olbermann also says that the "disaster for
     ESPN shows how quickly one can go from buddies to enemies in
     baseball, or vice versa."  Olbermann: "Disney, which owns
     ESPN, was the fair-haired boy.  Fox, which owns the Dodgers,
     was the upstart.  Turner, which owns the Braves, used to be
     the pariah.  Now Disney and ESPN are bums, Fox, the
     veterans, and Turner, the savior" (SportsFan Radio, 5/11).

Return to top
Video Powered By - Castfire CMS Powered By - Sitecore

Report a Bug