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CBS Wins TV Baseball Rights With $1 Billion

December 14, 1988|Associated Press

NEW YORK — CBS today won exclusive network rights to televise major league baseball with a $1-billion offer that shocked NBC, which has prided itself on its baseball coverage since 1947.

CBS's four-year contract allows it to televise the World Series, the All-Star Game, the playoffs in both leagues and a 12-game regular-season package beginning in 1990, industry sources said.

The network has not televised big-league baseball since 1965, while NBC and ABC shared TV rights since 1975.

CBS was stunned by NBC last month when it lost the U.S. TV rights to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. NBC won with a bid of $401 million, topping the CBS offer by $40 million.

Baseball is expected to award a cable package next month for between $75 million and $100 million per year. Turner Broadcasting System's TNT Network, ESPN and SportsChannel America are competing for the package. Cable is expected to show four or five games a week.

NBC had been expected to retain the major part of baseball's network package. ABC had complained of heavy losses on its Monday night package and will move its games to Thursday in 1989.

The current baseball contracts, which expire after the 1989 season, totaled $1.1 billion over six years. ABC and NBC will pay baseball a total of $240 million in the deal's final season.

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