If there is a baseball strike -- an Aug. 30 deadline looms -- analysts for
SunTrust Robinson Humphrey Capital Markets predicted that Fox affiliates could "stand to see an
approximate 24 percent decline in revenues" during the time those stations would
otherwise be airing the playoffs or World Series.
As it stands, stations would get only four ad units per hour during the games
(as opposed to seven minutes if regular programming airs), but the report said
those four minutes are more valuable because stations can sell them at a higher
CPM (cost per thousand homes).
Analysts Jonathan Jacoby and W. Hooper Stevens said the Fox network would be
rebated up to $300 million by Major League Baseball if there is a strike and,
secondarily, up to $230 million in damages for the ratings declines the
lack of baseball could create for Fox in the future. Fox's contract with MLB expires in 2006.
The analysts speculated that in the event of a strike, the Fox network may
create "make-goods" for its affiliates by offering them more local time to sell.
And they said Fox would try to fill the holes in its schedule with movies from
its film library instead of moving up the premiere dates for its new season,
which is due to begin after the Series.