Breaking Sports

Friday, June 24, 2005

media- Sports & TV

via the NY Post, As testy negotiations again heat up between Major League Baseball and ESPN, it's becoming evident that Wednesday night baseball is headed for extinction, according to sources.
The sides recently resumed talks after taking a break because they have been so far apart.
While ESPN will likely renew its deal, the agreement will be impacted by ESPN's $8.8 billion, eight-year deal with the NFL. ESPN is currently paying $815 million for its six-year TV contract with MLB and wants more bang for its buck.
In its new deal, ESPN might only have baseball on Sunday and one other night compared to at least three days and sometimes four right now.
For the new contract's second game, ESPN wants to be able to broadcast in the local market, like it can for Sunday night baseball. Right now, a weekday Yankee-Red Sox game is blacked out in New York and New England so that YES and NESN's telecasts aren't infringed.
Meanwhile, some baseball officials are displeased with what they consider excessive coverage of the steroid controversy. They think ESPN should address it, but that as a rights holder they shouldn't pile on.
ESPN Executive Vice President Mark Shapiro and a baseball spokesman declined comment.
When John Madden signed with NBC, he may have saved Joe Theismann's ESPN job. ESPN had made an offer to Madden for its 2006 Monday night package, but Madden chose NBC. Though Theismann is still in limbo for 2006, he must have felt some sense of relief, right?
"I don't get caught up in what other people do and where they go," Theismann said. "I think it is great that John is going to have an opportunity to continue. ESPN has not indicated at all to me what their plans are. I'm just getting ready for 2005."
For this season -Theismann's 18th year at the network - he will again team with Mike Patrick and Paul Maguire, whose jobs also are in jeopardy.
ESPN would like to pull Al Michaels over from ABC, but Michaels is the favorite to land at NBC with Madden.