Citing a "trail of broken promises," ABC and NBC said Friday that they are through with big-league baseball for "the rest of this century."
The decision will dissolve the Baseball Network, a three-way partnership among baseball and the two networks, after two seasons.
NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol and ABC Sports president Dennis Swanson said their decision came after baseball ignored a plea to begin the two networks' six-year deal anew this year. They said baseball ignored two oral promises to protect network interests during a strike and two requests to guarantee the future of the Baseball Network. There are no prospects of a labor agreement to stabilize the game, they said.
"The fact of the matter is Major League Baseball seems incapable at this point in time of living with any long-term relationships," Swanson said during the joint announcement. "I don't know where major-league baseball is going, and that's sad for me, because I love the sport."
Ebersol said the sport does not "have the leadership" to see the success it could have had with the arrangement.
Fox Sports president David Hill said he will reserve comment about his network's possibly acquiring the baseball contract. CBS Sports president David Kenin issued a statement saying: "We are interested in all major sports properties."