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BASEBALL B’CAST DEAL IN FINAL INNING

Major League Baseball is expected to award a new TV rights contract this week, after three weeks of haggling and the end of the World Series.

Fox is viewed as a definite partner in the deal for 1996 and beyond, offering to spend about $110 million a year for a weekly regular-season game and post-season package. CBS, which also hopes to clinch a deal, balked at matching Fox’s pricetag, but is still considered a good shot for at least a smaller piece, possibly including two of the next five World Series.

ABC, attempting to protect future rights for its 80%-owned ESPN cable net, also is said to have submitted a late bid with the cabler, but terms couldn’t be learned and none of the networks would comment.

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