SBD/13/Leagues Governing Bodies

TWO-YEAR OPTION COULD BOOST FOX-NHL DEAL TO $275 MILLION

     In a fact sheet distributed from the NHL to each of the 26
clubs prior to last night's ratification vote by NHL governors,
it was revealed the Fox TV deal that is expected to be formally
announced today in New York "could be worth significantly more
than the original reported figure of $155 million," according to
Bob McKenzie in this morning's TORONTO STAR.  "Fox has guaranteed
the NHL that amount for the next five seasons, but has the option
to pick up the 1999-2000 and 2000-2001 seasons for an additional
$120 million."  Even if Fox doesn't exercise its 2-year option,
annual U.S. TV revenue will increase by 75%, an average of more
than $1M per team per year (TORONTO STAR, 9/13).
     THE ESPN FACTOR:  According to the NHL fact sheet, the "new"
ESPN deal is worth $65.1M through '98-99.  ESPN "is losing some
properties but isn't paying as much as it was.  Also, ESPN will
be permitted to lift a local team's regional blackout rights once
per season per team in the the first three years of the deal.  In
years four and five, ESPN's lifting of blackout rights increases
to two times per team per year" (Bob McKenzie, TORONTO STAR,
9/13).
     LEAGUE VIEW:  NHL Senior VP Steve Solomon:  "By our going
out into the ad market and coming up with sponsors Anheuser-Busch
and Nike, the value of the NHL was enhanced.  And by
regionalizing games and Fox promoting them like they do the NFL,
the ratings figure to improve.  Our high demos for 18-49 men make
hockey a happening sport" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 9/13).
Solomon and Commissioner Gary Bettman will be joined by ESPN Exec
VP Ed Durso, Fox Television President Chase Carey, Fox Sports
President David Hill, Anheuser-Busch VP/Corporate Media and
Sports Marketing Tony Ponturo and Nike Sports Marketing and
League Relations official Doug Stamm at the 2pm announcement in
NYC today.
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