CBS NEWS PRESIDENT TO LEAVE VIACOM
Andrew Heyward Replaced by Sports President Sean McManus
Mr. Petitti, a Harvard Law School graduate who cut his teeth in the sports business at ABC and later at CBS, has been Mr. McManus’s right-hand man on talent and programming negotiations and decisions.
“He was as instrumental as I was in helping turn this place around,” Mr. McManus said.
Mr. Petitti, whose title will be exec VP, said his biggest challenge in the coming year will be expanding the network’s sports assets into other new media areas -- “taking the properties we have and pushing them in different areas,” he said. For example, “we’ll find new opportunities and ways to expand what we’re doing with college sports.” CBS Sports is poised to expand its college sports presence thanks to an 11-year, $6 billion National Collegiate Athletic Association rights deal Mr. McManus spearheaded in 1999.
The deal included rights pertaining to the Internet, marketing and corporate sponsorship, merchandising, licensing, cable TV, radio, satellite, digital and home video.
Any such expanded CBS Sports new-media move is likely not only to include new Internet offerings but also video-on-demand programming. The expansion would follow CBS Sportsline's re-launch into a round-the-clock, on-demand broadband video network using original and CBS Sports footage. Earlier this summer CBS News initiated a similarly major reorganization that expanded its Web presence and pushed more broadcast video content to online audience.
Also on the agenda for Mr. Petitti will be negotiating an extension to CBS’s right to the PGA Tour and increasing the network’s position in college football.
He all but ruled out acquiring Major League Baseball rights, which expire on Fox in 2006, saying that “while it’ a great property, it’s something that doesn’t interest us. It’s more of a prime-time property in terms of its network profile, and where we’re at network-wise it’s probably something we’re not going to pursue at this time.”