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BBWAA: A bunch of saps

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Smasher_Sloan, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    So says Murray Chass:

    <i><b>For the first time, the post-season awards voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America were the stars of television shows this year. Under an agreement reached a year ago with the BBWAA, the Major League Baseball network produced four awards shows and one preview show.

    I did not attend the writers meeting last December when they approved the arrangement so I have no first-hand knowledge of the discussion or the reason the BBWAA gave its long-held property away and got nothing in return, as in payment.

    I posed that question to Jack O’Connell, the long-time BBWAA secretary-treasurer, who announced the awards live on the shows.

    “Any answer to my question about our giving away our awards while MLB network makes many thousands off it?” I asked in a second e-mail.

    “The answer is that we did not give away the awards,” O’Connell replied. “They are still ours.”

    I will give O’Connell the benefit of doubt and figure he misunderstood my question. My “give away” was not to be taken literally, as in giving the network proprietary control of the awards. But the BBWAA gave away the awards for television profit and got nothing in return.

    There was commercial money involved, and the network got it all. Matt Bourne, an M.L.B. public relations vice president, said the network declined to say how much it received for the commercials it aired during the shows.

    “We don’t give out that information,” he said. “Our people aren’t comfortable talking about it.”

    However, he noted that the BBWAA benefits from the shows because they publicized the awards and raised the BBWAA’s profile.

    Two problems there. The awards, especially most valuable player and Cy Young awards, have always been well publicized because they are probably the most popular post-season awards for any sport, with the possible exception of the Heisman trophy.

    In addition, the BBWAA doesn’t need to have its profile raised. It is not in business and sells nothing. In fact, its non-profit status might have been the reason the BBWAA sought no payment.

    That was one of the reasons cited for rejection several years ago when an independent television production company made a proposal to the organization that included payment.

    A person familiar with the sale of television advertising said that a 30-second commercial for the baseball awards shows would sell for $5,000 to $10,000. The m.v.p. show, the last in the series of one-hour shows, had a total commercial time of 14 minutes and 40 seconds, including 2:40 for in-house commercials about the MLB Network and its programs. There were 31 commercials plus 8 house ads.

    Using the low estimate, each show would have earned $120,000 for a total of $600,000. Even if the commercials were discounted by 50 percent, the network would have had $300,000 in revenue.

    The person familiar with television advertising made another point. “One thing to keep in mind about this,” he said, “is that in the off-season, original, newsworthy programming is hard to come by. So while it’s not a windfall, it’s still content in a content driven business.”

    What could the BBWAA have done with the money if it had received any from the network? It could have helped families of writers who died or writers who had lost their jobs in a shrinking and decaying industry. Institute a college scholarship program. Make donations to hurricane or earthquake victims.

    The BBWAA wouldn’t have to keep any of the money and ruin its nonprofit stratus. But instead of giving away money, the BBWAA would rather give away its awards.</i></b>
  2. Joe Williams

    Joe Williams Active Member

    Might there be a sense that if the BBWAA asked for one red cent, MLB would take over the awards or replace them with parallel awards that, with the TV exposure, would overshadow and eventually render obsolete the current ones?
  3. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    MLB ought to take over the awards anyway.
  4. Smasher_Sloan

    Smasher_Sloan Active Member

    Precisely. But the BBWAA feels it has no purpose, other than to pin medals on players.
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