The Buzz

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Even though a Bud Selig-Donald Fehr face-off threatens to strike out the baseball playoffs, Fox is continuing to sell the post-season and World Series-with a back-up plan. According to buyers, the network is looking to do deals that would allow an advertiser to shift spots to its NFL regular-season games if baseball goes dark. One media buyer who's done a World Series deal received a commitment from Fox that a shift to the NFL would bring more ratings points and a lower cost-per-thousand viewers. Another who's done a Series deal is looking to press Fox for a replacement schedule of top-flight prime-time shows or the NFL. "Clients see the World Series as marquee," the buyer says, "so you probably will have to get Fox to promise you more than what they promised in the World Series. If they promised you 20 ratings points in the World Series, they'd probably have to deliver 25 or 30 in prime or the NFL, so I could show my clients that it's still a good deal." A Fox Sports rep said the net will "satisfy" advertisers if games are nixed. A spokesman for Fox's entertainment group said if baseball is canceled, the premiere dates for the fall line-ups will not be altered (four nights premiere before baseball.)

Boeing's sponsorship of the Sept. 11 "Concert for America" on NBC won't include any ads that might tug at the heartstrings. The airline manufacturer, which made all four planes that went down in last year's tragedy, will underwrite the event on NBC and may receive promotional mentions, but the company said the show will be commercial-free.

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