The news that was reported in advance was made official Thursday: Tony Petitti has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of the MLB Network.
Commissioner Selig made the announcement, and with the annoucement, we now know when to click through the channels to find it. The launch of the biggest cable and satillite televison channel launch in history will be on January 1, 2009.
Petitti joins the MLB Network after serving as the Executive Vice President and Executive Producer for CBS Sports, where he oversaw all daily operations, including production, personnel and editorial content. In January 2008, Petitti assumed responsibility for day-to-day operations of CSTV and was instrumental in its transformation to the CBS College Sports Network.
“Tony has extraordinary experience in the television field and we are pleased that he will lead the MLB Network and prepare for its 2009 launch,” Selig said. “Throughout his career, Tony’s ability and knowledge have led to great success, which will benefit our great game in the years to come.”
Petitti originally joined CBS Sports in February 1997 as Senior Vice President, Business Affairs and Programming, in which he played a key role in negotiating contracts for continued coverage of the PGA Tour and the network’s re-acquisition of the NFL. In August 1999, Tony became the Vice President and General Manager of WCBS-TV in New York before re-joining CBS Sports in 2002. The five-time Emmy Award Winner was named Executive Producer in July 2002 and later appointed Executive Vice President in December 2005. In 2000, Sports Business Journal honored Petitti as part of its “40 Under 40” top executives in the industry.
“Providing baseball dedicated programming 24 hours a day, seven days a week on a year-round basis is a tremendous and exciting opportunity,” said Petitti. “Major League Baseball has a vast amount of valuable content, both live and historical, and a passionate fan base. There is enormous potential and a great opportunity for success with the MLB Network’s scheduled record launch in approximately 50 million homes.”
Prior to joining CBS Sports, Petitti served as Senior Vice President, Negotiations for NBC Sports and as Vice President, Programming for ABC Sports. With ABC, Tony was responsible for the acquisition of college football regular season and bowl games, college basketball, the Little League World Series and NASCAR events. In addition, he is credited for creating the Bowl Championship Series to determine college football’s national champion.
Petitti, who began his professional career in the field of law before joining ABC Sports in 1988, graduated from Haverford College in 1983 with a degree in economics and from Harvard Law School in 1986. In May 2006, Haverford selected Tony as the recipient of the prestigious Lawrence Forman Award, presented to a superior Haverford athlete who has devoted a significant portion of their energy to the betterment of society throughout his or her career.
The MLB Network, which will broadcast baseball programming 24 hours a day, is projected to launch into approximately 50 million cable and satellite homes, exceeding any other cable television launch in history by approximately 20 million homes.
Source: Major League Baseball
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