Sat, Nov 18, 2006 - Page 18 News List

MLB club owners approve TV deals, extend constitution

AP , CHICAGO

Major League Baseball club owners on Thursday unanimously approved television contracts with Fox and TBS that run through 2013 and are worth more than US$3 billion.

The owners also voted during the two-hour meeting to extend the Major League constitution through 2012. They approved an amendment that clarifies the votes needed to amend and extend the constitution. It takes a simple majority to extend the constitution; amending it requires the approval of three-quarters of the owners.

"This is one of the earliest and quickest meetings we've ever had," MLB commissioner Bud Selig said.

After the meeting, Selig said opening the 2008 season in China remains a possibility. China is the world's biggest country with more than 1.3 billion people, and MLB hopes the sport will become as popular there as it is in other Asian nations. However, a suitable ballpark must be constructed.

MLB recently announced plans to open an office in China within the next month. San Diego Padres chairman John Moores and chief executive officer Sandy Alderson have already traveled to China to study the feasibility of holding a season opener there.

MLB already has played regular-season games in Japan twice. The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays opened the 2004 season there, and the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs played in Tokyo Dome in 2000.

If MLB opens the 2008 season in China, it would come three months before the Beijing Games -- the last Olympics where baseball and softball are to be played. The International Olympic Committee took both sports off the program for the 2012 Games in London.

"We've talked about that," Selig said about holding the 2008 opener in China. "I certainly want to open in as many countries as possible. ... China is the next great horizon. The greatest potential in this sport is international."

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