The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin reports "HNIC" studio analyst Don Cherry "will stay at CBC till at least the 2012 NHL playoffs." By extending Cherry's contract, the CBC "has pushed its chips firmly behind the cult of Cherry's personality." But a source said that while Cherry "has done very well by CBC, the reverse ain't necessarily so." The source: "He's grown his own brand, not ours, and when he leaves he'll be fine, but there will be nothing left behind for us" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/21).
STAYING WITH A FRIEND: MLS and Fox Soccer Friday announced that they have reached a one-year extension for the network’s national broadcast rights agreement that sources say is worth $6.25M. That is much less than the $20M deal MLS was seeking but more than double the $3M per year that Fox Soccer was paying. Terms of the deal have Fox Soccer broadcasting up to 31 regular-season games, plus three MLS Cup playoff matches, including a conference final. The package includes 15 games on Saturday nights and 14 on Friday nights; 20 of the 31 broadcast windows are exclusive to Fox Soccer, as are all three playoff games. The net has been a national broadcast partner of MLS since '03 (John Ourand, THE DAILY).
SWING AWAY: In N.Y., Bob Raissman cited sources as saying that the Yankees "will not do a deal" with current radio partner WCBS-AM before its exclusive negotiating window expires in April. A source said of the Yankees, "They want to test the market. It's as simple as that." Raissman noted WCBS currently pays the Yankees $13M per season. The Red Sox receive $18M for their radio rights, and that "appears to be what the Yankees are looking for" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/20).
MIXED REAX ON HOCKEY DAY: In St. Petersburg, Tom Jones writes NBC "did a solid job" with the feature stories it aired as part of the net's "Hockey Day in America" coverage yesterday, although it was a "predictable paint-by-numbers series of stories to ensure diversity." However, Jones did wonder why with NBC "trying to beef up Versus' hockey coverage" the net had its top broadcasting team of Mike Emrick, Ed Olczyk and Pierre McGuire "call the Penguins-Blackhawks game instead of Versus' coverage of the outdoor game between the Canadiens and Flames" (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 2/21).