BASEBALL ADVERTISERS, MEDIA BUYERS HANG ON WEEKEND NEWS
TV sports columnists are examining the effect of this
weekend's possible replacement opening on the baseball's
advertisers and broadcasters. In Washington, Leonard Shapiro
writes, "No one really knows how to calculate the ill will the
strike generated on Madison Avenue. Worse, the deadline for
third- and fourth-quarter ad sales in late summer through the
World Series is approaching. If the strike goes on much longer,
agencies will have to look elsewhere to spend their money"
(WASHINGTON POST, 3/31). In Philadelphia, Mike Bruton writes
that TV and radio stations holding MLB rights "are caught in a
bind. They have to weigh losing money in the short term against
losing the broadcast rights to their respective teams in the long
term." WBFS-TV Station Manager Jerry Carr, whose South FL
station carries Marlins games: "It's tough, real tough.
Advertisers aren't saying no, they're just saying: 'Wait a
minute, we want to restructure this thing.' I can't fault them
for that" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 3/31). CNN's John Metaxas
examined the impact of the strike on radio/TV advertisers: "Many
advertisers are balking at paying for something less than Major
League Baseball." Gene Dewitt, of Dewitt Media: "It's our
inclination to not buy time during the replacement games because
no one really knows what the quality of the games will be or what
the audience will be." Dewitt said audiences were down about 35%
in early spring replacement telecasts ("Moneyline," CNN, 3/30).
In New York, Steve Zipay notes MSG Network's refusal to air four
scheduled Yankee exhibitions, and reports that the team's
regular-season opener "is in jeopardy" (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 3/30).