Related topics

Sports TV Executive Bill MacPhail Dies of Surgery Complications

September 5, 1996

ATLANTA (AP) _ Bill MacPhail, a CBS Sports executive who negotiated the National Football League’s first TV contract and oversaw the development of the instant replay, is dead at age 76.

MacPhail died Wednesday of complications following heart surgery last week, CNN reported.

As CBS Sports’ vice president, MacPhail also programmed the first sports anthology series, ``CBS Sunday Sports Spectacular,″ and hired the likes of Pat Summerall, Frank Gifford, Bud Collins, Ben Wright, Jim McKay and Chris Schenkel.

MacPhail, who later left CBS to create CNN’s sports division, spoke before his retirement in June 1995 about developing instant replay.

``We did instant replay for the Army-Navy game in 1963,″ MacPhail said. ``We didn’t know what it would be. So I said: `Use it sparingly. Do it five times.‴

He joined CNN in 1979 and, following his retirement, worked as a consultant in creating CNN/SI, a 24-hour sports news cable channel set to debut in December.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, William Curtis MacPhail was born into one of baseball’s leading families.

His father, Larry, was an executive who ran the Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees; his brother, Lee, is a former president of the American League and general manager of the Yankees; his nephew, Andy, is president of the Chicago Cubs.

After graduating Swarthmore College and serving in the Navy, MacPhail himself spent nine years in front-office baseball jobs, his last as publicity director for the Kansas City Athletics in 1955.

In addition to his brother and nephew Andy, he is survived by nephews Bruce MacPhail and Allen MacPhail.

Update hourly