The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman claims Major League Baseball might soon find itself divorced from the broadcast partner that thought Jeanne Zelasko and Kevin Kennedy made a good pair.
(the Big Z assures K-Square that this Raissman guy is only right about half of the time)
Fox’s exclusive negotiating period with MLB is about to expire – probably in the next two weeks – and the two sides are far apart in terms of the only thing that counts – money.
Fox’s current six-year deal with Bud Selig & Co., worth $2.5 billion, ends following the 2006 season. The Foxies began televising baseball in 1996 and, as in past negotiations, MLB is looking for more dough than Fox is currently willing to offer.
So, when Fox’s exclusive negotiating period runs out without a deal, MLB will become a TV free agent. This probably was Selig’s plan all along. Selig and the owners want to test the waters and see what their national TV rights are worth on an open market.
Fox, according to baseball sources, does have the right to match any “final” offer MLB receives from another network.
A baseball source said NBC has expressed an interest in the package. It is likely Peacock suits have their eyes set on MLB’s postseason inventory. That makes sense. NBC’s prime-time ratings are down. What better way to add some ratings consistency – and a promotional platform for entertainment programming – than picking up the World Series?
Don’t discount the possibility of Disney-owned ESPN, MLB’s national cable TV partner, getting into the act. ESPN could pay top dollar for the right to air the LCS, then put the World Series on ABC-TV, also a Disney property. Because of its dual revenue streams (advertising revenue and licensing fees from cable operators), ESPN has become a virtual pot of gold for the NFL, NBA and MLB.
If Fox loses baseball Tim McCarver would have to move on. Baseball is his sport. Joe Buck would have an option. He is Fox’s No. 1 NFL play-by-play voice. The network has just embarked on an eight-year extension of its NFL deal.