World Series slides

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News Corp.'s Fox Broadcasting, stuck in the glut of sports inventory weakening prices for commercial time, is facing lower prices for the upcoming World Series broadcasts.

Ad executives said unit prices for a 30-second spot for the World Series and playoff games are down 5% to 15% vs. a year ago. That's on par with declines for most other sports, such as football. (See related article, P. 8.)

The drop puts unit pricing in the $250,000 to $285,000 range for a 30-second spot in the World Series games one through five, and somewhat lower for games six and seven. Earlier-round playoff games are being priced at $150,000 to $170,000, according to executives. Fox Sports executives would not comment, but an executive close to Fox said the network was 80% sold out for the World Series and 65% for the playoffs, with prices ranging between $300,000 and $325,000.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg," said Larry Novenstern, exec VP-sales and marketing for Sportvision, a TV technology company, and previously an ad agency buyer of sports programming. Mr. Novenstern believes prices could tumble further.

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