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Fox still wary about renewing baseball TV contract
2006-05-10 20:36
by Bob Timmermann

News Corp president Peter Chernin said that its primary television network, Fox, won't renew its contract with MLB unless it can be guaranteed a profit.

From Broadcasting and Cable

Speaking during News Corp.'s quarterly earnings call, Chernin said that Fox has a "very straightforward view" of baseball. "We have enjoyed our relationship with them and are more than happy to renew, if we can make money on the contract. We are not prepared to sign a deal that loses money and we are prepared to walk away," Chernin says.

Sports has long been a loss leader for TV networks, which pay up then often bleed hundreds of millions of dollars. Fox itself has lost $200 million over the term of its current six-year, $2.6 billion baseball deal, which expires after the 2006 season.

2006-05-10 20:53:33
1.   Voxter
I can't be the only person who thinks this is good news. FOX is the worst thing ever to happen to post-season baseball. And I'm including the Wild Card in that.
2006-05-10 21:03:16
2.   Bob Timmermann
But Fox has done a good job of subsidizing the Devil Rays and Royals by overpaying.
2006-05-10 21:03:28
3.   DXMachina
You aren't. Fox is just terrible.
2006-05-10 21:15:23
4.   Andrew Shimmin
Alas poor Scooter, I knew him, Horatio.
2006-05-10 21:16:49
5.   yankee23
Perhaps Fox should consider what it's doing to drive viewers away... cough Tim McCarver and Joe Buck cough
2006-05-10 22:22:44
6.   Ravenscar
HOLY GOD that's the best news I've heard in a long time. And as irritating as Buck and McCarver are and as much as I never want to hear them again, I have NO DOUBT that whatever annoying Fox suits they have informing the broadcast these past 75 years (seems that long, doesn't it?) have made them worse than they already are, which is no small feat. The entirety of their coverage - from stem to stern - is horrendous. It would have been awful no matter who they put in there.

Let us hope it goes somewhere else and this isn't just posturing from everyone.

With Bush's new FOX-run press office, it seems somehow more logical that he's been running those broadcasts into the ground, like his other operation.

2006-05-10 22:33:00
7.   das411
Just as long as MLB doesn't go to, say, OLN. If that happens I wlil definitely break Bob's no swearing rule.
2006-05-10 22:59:04
8.   Voxter
5 - The main reason I didn't mention McCarver & Buck is that I fear they might follow the postseason wherever it went. Personally, I would love to hear the Steve Stone - Steve Phillips squad from ESPN doing as many games as possible. I think they're pretty great.

6 - Your handle must be a Neal Stephenson reference. Right?

2006-05-10 23:34:44
9.   Steve
Chernin said that Fox has a "very straightforward view" of baseball.

Dodger fans know this better than most

2006-05-10 23:58:13
10.   Another Tom
Cue the Bob Costas intros...
2006-05-11 00:28:46
11.   Ravenscar
Voxter -

Yes on Stephenson. Big fan, and no, that series didn't need an editor. Ha! (actually, I do believe that)

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO on Steve Phillips doing any announcing! From your mouth to no one's ears.

Hmmm... should this be an thread on who our dream annoucers would be? I vote for Team Gary! Gary Thorne and Gary Cohen. (I admit to liking Jon Miller's cadence and good humor as well, but I'm afriad he cannot be surgically removed from Joe Morgan, who I don't despise as much as everyone else, but he's just not that good, which is reason enough.) I guess I need a former-player-color man.... hmmmm....... Eucker? He is WAY smarter than he is given credit for.

2006-05-11 01:04:20
12.   Louis in SF
AS a Dodger partisan (sp)baseball and fox splitting would be great and might be the tonic the Dodgers need to go forward in a big way. Don't think the time has completly recovered from FOX. ESPN is the logical choice, but for and over the air network, would have no problem seeing it return to NBC with Bob Costas anchoring some weekend games.
2006-05-11 07:36:33
13.   Bob Timmermann
If Bob Costas comes back, he can tell us of his memories about Mickey Mantle.

Again ....

It will be the Joe Garagiola telling stories about Yogi Berra equivalent of the 21st century.

2006-05-11 09:50:23
14.   grandcosmo
Before baseball was on FOX it was on CBS and people complained about Jack Buck and Sean McDonough and Tim McCarver just as much as they complain about Buck fils and McCarver.

When the games were on The Baseball Network people complained, when they were on NBC people complained about Scully and Garagiola and before that people complained about Tony Kubek and Curt Gowdy and Sandy Koufax and Pee Wee Reese.

And if it goes exclusively to ESPN I'll complain because their announcing teams are unlistenable.

2006-05-11 10:20:12
15.   Cliff Corcoran
How could people complain about Scully or Gowdy?!

At any rate, before FOX got exclusive rights the postseason was split between FOX and NBC. FOX had McCarver & co. NBC had Costas and Morgan . . . and NBC was the better broadcast by leaps and bounds. It's only partly about the announcers. It's also about killing scooter and exploding graphics and getting far far away from Jeanie Zelasco (sp?) etc. FOX doesn't understand baseball, never has (see Howard Byrant's "Juicing the Game" for some tidbits). I'll take Costas on NBC, Al Michaels on ABC, or whoever it is CBS still has connections with as long as the broadcast is a baseball broadcast and not an NFL broadcast superimposed over a baseball game.

2006-05-11 10:31:59
16.   Bob Timmermann
For the record, the woman's name is Jeanne Zelasko. I just remember the first name since it was my mother's. But Ms. Zelasko pronounces it incorrectly. It should be pronounced as one syllable. My mom cringed if people used two syllables to say her name.

Also, Al Michaels works for NBC now. He switched over when MNF became SNF and moved to NBC.

I would think that Michaels wouldn't mind working some World Series games although I assume NBC would have to have Michaels and Costas duke it out.

As for people complaining about Scully, they did. I remember A's fans telling me what a homer Scully was in the 1988 World Series. And Mets and Red Sox fans both thought Scully was "against" them during that Series.

2006-05-11 11:24:39
17.   grandcosmo
15. Many people complained about Gowdy when he did baseball on NBC. He was known as being boring and a master of the cliche.
2006-05-11 13:06:29
18.   Linkmeister
Does no one think it a little odd that Fox wants a "guaranteed" profit? I thought it was a dog-eat-dog world out here in the land of the capitalist free and the home of the risk-taking brave.

Is Fox taking lessons from defense contractors? "Listen here, Selig, we want a cost-plus deal here."

2006-05-11 14:08:49
19.   grandcosmo
No I think it is perfectly reasonable for a business to avoid entering into an agreement that is not in the best interests of the company and its shareholders.
2006-05-11 14:44:59
20.   Bob Timmermann
Fox has tried baseball as a "loss leader" and they don't think it's a good idea anymore.

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