SBD/Issue 202/Sports Media

MLB Reportedly Asking About $70M For Remaining LCS Package

MLB Reportedly Seeking
$70M For Available LCS Games
MLB is asking about $70M for the remaining available LCS, according to sources cited by John Consoli of MEDIAWEEK. MLB is “looking to package those games with regular season games and even a new nightly baseball news/results show which MLB could co-produce with a network.” ESPN and Turner said that they are interested “only in the remaining [LCS] games,” while sources said that Fox “wants to put those games on FX but only if it gets all of the games.” Fox “would also be interested in adding some of the [LCS] games each year, splitting them with another network.” A source said that while FX is “interested in acquiring the [LCS] games, it is not interested in carrying a regular season weeknight package.” MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan said that the league “is unlikely to split the [LCS] games among networks, but another scenario, which he wouldn’t comment on is that Fox get the remaining [LCS] games to split on Fox and FX” (MEDIAWEEK, 7/17 issue).

FOX: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Eric Fisher notes MLB’s decision to split its TV rights last week between Fox and Turner was “driven by necessity.” With Fox “insisting on lowering its annual fee as a means to avoid a repeat of the $225[M] in write-downs in its current, six-year-deal with baseball, MLB had little choice but to carve up the inventory.” Two actions “helped MLB work through” Fox’ concerns: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig “steadily negotiating” with News Corp. President Peter Chernin, and MLB President & COO Bob DuPuy having lunch in S.F. about a month ago with Fox Sports President Ed Goren and Fox Networks Group President Tony Vinciquerra” (SBJ, 7/17 issue).

TURNER: In this week’s SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, John Ourand notes Turner now owns rights to the NBA, NASCAR, pro golf and MLB, which has industry execs “now pointing to TNT/TBS, not OLN, as cable’s second most important sports outlet, behind ESPN.” Turner will cease airing Braves games nationally after next season under its new MLB contract. Former Clear Channel TV Chair Mike Trager, on Time Warner’s pending sale of the team: “If someone else owns the team, they have no real incentive to carry them nationally” (SBJ, 7/17 issue). In Atlanta, Tim Tucker wrote ratings “were a key factor in Turner Sports’ decision to essentially end” airing Braves games nationally. Cable ratings for Braves games on TBS since ’83 have dropped 82%, from a 4.9 to a 0.9 (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 7/16).

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