By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

What happens to the Globe and NESN?

No doubt many folks at the Boston Globe are breathing a sigh of relief at the news that its corporate parent, the New York Times Co., plans to unload its 17.5 percent stake in the Red Sox. The conflicts of interest have been many — not over game stories, but over various Red Sox business ventures the Globe has had to cover over the years.

But hold on. I thought the main reason the Times Co. made this investment was because of the Sox’ 80 percent ownership of New England Sports Network. Globe sportswriters have been all over NESN, and some — especially Bob Ryan — have been quite good.

I imagine NESN would still want Globe people on the air. But doesn’t this mean the end of Globe exclusivity? I suppose NESN and the Globe could sign some sort of agreement, but that’s not the same as ownership.

Among other things, it strikes me that Sean McAdam, formerly of the Providence Journal and now of the Boston Herald, is an accomplished on-air performer, and would fit right in at NESN.

More: Adam Reilly wonders the same thing that I did when I first read the story: Is the Globe really worth just $20 million? I think it’s a typo. This suggests the Globe is worth $120 million. Of course, that’s shocking enough, given that the Times Co. bought the Globe for $1.1 billion back in 1993.

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  1. O-FISH-L

    Dan, I would think that the sigh of relief in eliminating the occassional conflict of interest would be more than outdone by the groan from watching the parent company sell one of its last profitable assets, no? Isn’t it kind of like watching the last empty lifeboat drifting away from the Titanic, but being relieved that now there’s a better view?

  2. Aaron Read

    I think that $20mil number is representative of the TimesCo 17% stake in the Globe. It would roughly dovetail with the other price of $120 million you cited being for 100% of the Globe.Is the Globe REALLY worth that little? Christ…I’m surprised Harvard hasn’t bought it already. Practically chump-change to their endowment, even after the stock market tanked.

  3. Amused

    I actually had not seen any tainting of the baseball coverage in an arrangement that gets a lot of attention from Globe-haters around here, but is not unlike similar situations that exist throughout sports. Some media outlets, such as WEEI, have multiple contracts with teams which are vital to their existence. And sports team/media ownership isn’t new around here, Storer owned the Bruins and the Celtics owned WEEI. Elsewhere, the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Flyers, Washington Redskins, New York Knickerbockers, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Kings, Washington Capitals are owned by companies or individuals with substantial media interests, many in the same town; the Pittsburgh Pirates were formerly owned by, among others, Westinghouse Electric; The Los Angeles Dodgers were owned by News Corp prior tothe sale to the Hub Parking Baron; Disney owned the Anaheim Angels and Mighty Ducks and there are others.Only in provincal Boston do we get unduly worked up about a minority, non-voting interest.But… the Globe stories on the Jet Blue “partnership” with the Red Sox was a puff piece. (By the way, can we stop using “partner” as a verb and stop claiming “partnership” when ownership interests are not involved? Thank you one and all.)

  4. Doug Shugarts

    Here’s another post from Adam Reilly about potential changes to the Boston media landscape.The article contains new data about the Globe’s alleged value, too.

  5. O-FISH-L

    Honestly, why the shock at the Globe being valued at $20m? What would YOU pay for a company hemorrhaging $1m a week?Sure, it’s remarkable that something valued at $1.1b fifteen years ago is virtually worthless now, but other than the real estate at swampy Morrissey Boulevard (waterfront property in the rain) and Billerica, the trucks, the office furniture and perhaps the domain name, what exactly are you buying? In fact, the last time I checked, the trucks were leased from Wilson-Tisdale Co., so I’m not even sure the buyer would get those.Intangibles like “good will” and “best business practices” are normally factored into the value of a business, but again, do these exist in a company in free fall?

  6. Rick in Duxbury

    “good will” and “best practices”. Hilarious! If I wanted to pay to be insulted, I would already own a leather hood…(I know, the image is a troubling one….)

  7. Amused

    Wilson-Tisdale was a wholly owned subsidiary of Globe Newspaper Co. until it was merged into Globe in April, 1995.But then, facts are such an inconvenience to Globe-bashers.

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