Thursday, September 15, 2005

media creatures: MLB cashes in

Despite all of the bad press baseball has gotten this year from the ongoing steroid scandal, baseball remains a huge money maker. The latest contract with ESPN proves this. Despite tiny ratings, Major League Baseball signed a nearly $2.4 billion deal with ESPN earlier this week. This is an increase of 50% from the current agreement with ESPN.
According to my hometown rag the USA Today:

The games aren't an enormous ratings draw. ESPN's Wednesday night doubleheaders, in its current deal, draw about 1% of U.S. cable TV households. Its Sunday night games, despite being aired on television's most-watched night and not having to compete for fans because they're the only MLB games played that night, draw about 1.7%. (By contrast, ESPN's NFL opener Sunday drew 9.1%.)

ESPN will air live batting practice of their new Monday Night Baseball Game. Sportscenter will be allowed to have cut-ins to games similar to what Baseball Tonight already does. Live batting practice? Didn't Comcast broadcast bp for a couple of the Cubs/Sox games this summer? I didn't bother watching any of it. Did any of you? I'd be interested in what it was all about.

Another fact that the AP snuck into their story was Baseball will follow the NFL Network and start Uncle Bud's long rumored baseball network:
In addition, Selig and his staff have been planning to launch baseball's own cable network next year.
"I don't regard the channel in any way, shape or form as competitive," Selig said. "I regard it as an additional complement to everything else we've done."
I guess the "Baseball Network" will give us baseball addicts something to watch in January and February when the snow is flying.

As much as I detest ESPN and their coverage of sports I guess I have to accept that MLB is gonna be there for a while. Could they just get Chris Berman off of the Homerun Derby?

No comments: