Twenty years ago who would have guessed that CBS would one day rule the TV sports world? In 1970 it owned rights to only one major sport, pro football, and it shared those rights with NBC and ABC. But by 1990, when the new four-year baseball deal goes into effect, CBS's lineup will include not only baseball but also such mainstays as the NBA, college football, college basketball (including the NCAA tournament) and, in all likelihood, a share of the NFL, whose current contract with the three networks expires at the end of the '89 season.
Meanwhile, despite having spent $401 million to land the 1992 Summer Olympics, NBC will have lost considerable ground, and ABC, which until recently had billed itself as the network of the Olympics, will have become a shadow of its former self.
The chart does not include annual events like the Masters golf tournament ( CBS), the Indy 500 ( ABC) and the Orange Bowl ( NBC). If it did, the relative strengths of the networks wouldn't change dramatically. It also should be noted that the Olympics shown in the columns for 1970 and 1990 refer to rights paid for the '72 and '92 Games, respectively.
NCAA REGULAR SEASON