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CBS Failed to Pursue Audience for Baseball

December 16, 1990

The story, "CBS Expects Its First Loss in Decades" (Nov. 20), overlooks a factor contributing to the network's baseball-related financial woes: It has clearly demonstrated only a half-hearted commitment to the sport, thereby discouraging regular viewers.

During the season, CBS sporadically aired only a handful of games. After shelling out more than $1 billion for the right to broadcast baseball, one would think that the network would aggressively pursue a steady audience--or, at the very least, formulate a set broadcast schedule.

Further evidence that the network is not serious about building baseball viewership is its decision to air one of the playoff games on a Monday afternoon rather than pursue prime-time competition with "Monday Night Football." Thanks to CBS, baseball fans have now learned that the "hidden ball trick" is not just for infielders.

The first year of the contract between CBS and Major League Baseball has been a fiasco for the network, the fans and the game. As a lifelong baseball fan, I hope that in the next round of negotiations for the broadcast rights to baseball, Major League Baseball will consider factors about its suitors other than the size of their bids.

NEAL MCGARITY

Burtonsville, Md.

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