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SBD/Issue 144/Sports Media
Published April 16, 2002
YES-CABLEVISION: On Long Island, Zipay & Berkowitz write, "In an exchange of letters, YES proposed carrying Yankees games on expanded basic in Cablevision systems where MSG Network is on basic, and on a premium tier where MSG is provided as an optional channel" (NEWSDAY, 4/16). In a separate piece, NEWSDAY's Steve Zipay writes that to the "consternation of some," MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "hasn't stepped in to mediate [on the dispute], and won't right now. For Selig, it's a no-win position." Selig "must be careful of appearing to favor one side or the other because of both the recent past and his hopes for baseball's economic future." Zipay: "The question does arise: Is having Yankees telecasts available to 3 million homes 'in the best interests of baseball?'" (NEWSDAY, 4/16).
MLB RATINGS: Friday's Tigers-Twins game, the Twins' home-opener, earned a combined 12.4 rating on KSTP-ABC and KSTC-Ind. The game was viewed by 193,110 HHs and finished as the highest-rated TV show in the Twin Cities for the evening. On Saturday, FSN earned a 7.6 /(119,320 HHs), the second-highest for a Twins game on cable since '96 (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 4/16)....Friday's Yankees-Red Sox game earned a 9.9 rating on NESN. Saturday's game on WFXT-Fox earned a 12.3/35, and Sunday's game on WFXT-Fox earned a 12.8/33 (BOSTON GLOBE, 4/16).
TEAM NEWS: Wild radio analyst Barry Buetel "is leaving the organization and will return to Arizona to be with his family" (STAR TRIBUNE, 4/16)....The Steelers and KDKA-CBS have reached a multi-year deal, giving KDKA exclusive local broadcasting rights for the Steelers' non-nationally televised games. KDKA has held the Steelers' preseason local TV rights since '98 (Steelers).
CABLE NOTES: MULTICHANNEL NEWS' R. Thomas Umstead cites some MSO execs as saying that AOL Time Warner's CNN/SI "will not be immediately replaced when it goes dark in mid-May." Instead, operators will "examine other options," including the proposed AOL TW/NBA-owned sports network. Turner Sports Senior VP/PR Greg Hughes "would not say if Turner is encouraging operators to keep the channel open until the new AOL/NBA service" is ready to launch (MULTICHANNEL NEWS, 4/15)....From January 1 to April 1, most cable nets "added only a small percentage of new homes." Speed Channel added 4.3 million HHs for a total of 50.8 million. ESPNews added 1.6 million to climb to 29.5 million overall. However ESPN Classic "fell by 3.6 million homes" (MEDIA LIFE, 4/15).... DAILY VARIETY's John Dempsey wrote, "A number of shifts in the industry have jolted natural cable antagonists nets and operators into a new stage of grumpiness over the question of license-fee increases." FSN Midwest is off NPG Cable in St. Joseph, MO, and Sunflower Cable in Lawrence, KS, "after they balked at the increase in license fees." NPG Cable GM Bill Severn said that FSN "wanted an 86% jump in fees in the first year alone." Also, The Golf Channel and E! "fell off Media One cable systems when they failed to reach" a deal (DAILY VARIETY, 4/15).