MLB Network Taps Petitti As CEO

Major League Baseball will put Tony Petitti at the top of its network’s batting order, a move that leaves a hole in the CBS College Sports Network’s lineup.

Petitti, CBS Sports executive vice president and executive producer, is expected to be officially announced as CEO of MLB Network, which is expected to take its first swing in January, over the next couple of days.

CBS Sports confirmed the move, noting that Petitti will remain with Black Rock through June 1.

Petitti, CBS’s second-ranked sports executive behind CBS News and Sports president Sean McManus, added leadership responsibility for what was known as College Sports Televison through February. The moniker was changed to CBS College Sports Network the following month and more programming was built around "March Madness," including an on-demand highlights package from the NCAA men's Division 1 hoops tourney that was offered by a cadre of cable, telco and satellite operators.

A CBS spokeswoman said that one of the top priorities for McManus, who has ultimate oversight for the college sports network, will be to “find the right executive to continue the progress at CBS College Sports Network.”

Sources said that Petitti, who is a close personal friend of McManus, wanted to run his own show, as a key reason he decided to take the top spot at MLB Network. 

The service, with ownership stakes tied to the renewal of baseball’s Extra Innings pay-per-view package, should come out of the distribution box in more than 40 million cable and satellite homes, a total that would represent a record for a new cable network.