CBS yesterday pulled their five-year offer to split MLB
coverage with Fox, according to Rudy Martzke of USA TODAY. CBS
was expected to pay between $80-90M for a deal giving the network
two World Series, but new owner Westinghouse "won't OK those
numbers and a Thursday night regular season package." CBS "could
remain" in the picture, and ABC and possibly NBC "might pay $70
million a year, but that would surely" bring Fox down from its
$110M a year offer to $100M or lower. MLB officials had hoped to
announce a new TV deal during the World Series, but that is now a
remote possibility with news of CBS' withdrawal (USA TODAY,
JUST TAKING IN A BALLGAME? Acting MLB Commissioner Bud
Selig and NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol sat together during
last night's Game 3. The two were shown talking and laughing
during NBC's broadcast. Ebersol was outfitted in full NBC Sports
garb ("1995 World Series," NBC, 10/24).
MLB NEWS & NOTES: It appears that Fox affiliates are
"embracing" the possibility of baseball as a vehicle to "boost
their profiles," according to Milton Kent in Baltimore. The
stations may lose some revenue during the regular season, but the
opportunity to present post-season and World Series games would
"make baseball palatable" (Baltimore SUN, 10/25). On World
Series coverage, Barry Horn in Dallas writes that from a
"technical standpoint," the telecasts are a reminder that NBC and
ABC "know how to produce baseball" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 10/24).
Terry Bradshaw will host SPORTS ILLUSTRATED's '95 SportsmAn
of the Year prime-time special on December 10 on Fox (Fox
Sports)....The State Farm Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off
Classic will be broadcast live on ESPN and ESPN2 on November 19
from Knoxville, TN. This year's field includes UConn, Louisiana
Tech, UVA and Tennessee (State Farm)....Sports Illustrated is
launching a series of live online pro football conferences on
CompuServ with pro football writer Peter King. King will host
the Packers Brett Favre this Thursday at 8:00pm (SI)...Modern
Times Group AB, a subsidiary of Swedish media conglomerate
Kinnevik, said yesterday it will start a commercial TV channel
early next year with sports programming for satellite and cable
broadcast in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The channel will be
developed in cooperation with Trans World Int'l, the TV arm of
IMG. Rights have been secured for European Cup Soccer, Italian
Soccer League, Ice Hockey World Championships, the NFL, and U.S.
Open tennis (MTG).
TCI Inc. is reportedly in talks with News Corp.'s Fox to
join their TV sports operations in creating a "national rival" to
ESPN. Terms of a deal "are sketchy," according to the WALL
STREET JOURNAL, but sources say that Fox is in discussions to
purchase a piece of Liberty Sports Inc., the sports programming
division of TCI. The negotiations still have "unresolved issues"
and could "fall apart." A deal could allow TCI to "wring more
value" from Liberty's 14 regional cable channels, and an
agreement could give Fox "a boost" with "attractive local games."
A partnership with TCI's John Malone and News Corp.'s Rupert
Murdoch "would create a potent competitor to any sports
programmer, but particularly ESPN" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/25).
Fox and TCI may also "try to bring in" Cablevision Systems, which
through its programming arm of Rainbow Holdings owns 10 key
regional sports networks, including SportsChannel New York and
half of MSG (VARIETY, 10/23 issue).
TVKO, the pay-per-view arm of Time Warner Sports, and its
marketing partners will spend between $8-10M to promote the
November 4 Riddick Bowe-Evander Holyfield fight, according to
Langdon Brockinton of INSIDE MEDIA. Ads will be featured during
the World Series, "Late Night with David Letterman," college
football, and ESPN's "SportsCenter." National print ads --
including "full-page takeouts" in SI and USA TODAY -- and
national and local radio ads will also run. In addition, a half-
hour preview will run several times on HBO. Marketing partners
include Budweiser, AT&T, Southwest Airlines, and Casio. Bud gets
its logo on ring post and mat, while AT&T gets "opening and
closing billboards" on the PPV telecast (INSIDE MEDIA, 10/18-31).
SUMMERALL BACK AT RINGSIDE: Pat Summerall, former boxing
champs Bobby Czyz and Sean O'Grady and Eric Clemons will join
James Brown for Fox's coverage of the Tyson-Mathis fight on
November 4. John Madden will also have one-on-one taped
interviews with both fighters. Summerall will handle the "blow-
by-blow" coverage for the whole telecast (Fox).