SBD/21/Sports Media

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  • HUIZENGA TO TRANSITION OUT OF POST-MERGER BLOCKBUSTER

         Viacom announced yesterday it has signed contracts with 40
    "key" Blockbuster Entertainment senior managers to go into effect
    upon completion of the merger.  The list does not include
    Blockbuster Chair/CEO Wayne Huizenga.  Although Huizenga was
    given the title of Vice Chair of Viacom and Chair of the soon-to-
    be-formed Blockbuster Entertainment Group, "he will only remain
    with the companies for what is being described by Viacom
    executives as an 'appropriate' transition period."  Blockbuster
    Vice Chair Steve Berrard was offered a long-term pact, and will
    serve as president and CEO of Blockbuster Entertainment Group
    (DAILY VARIETY, 9/21).  Shareholders are set to meet 9/29 to vote
    on the proposed merger.  Viacom Chair Sumner Redstone: "We are
    particularly pleased that Wayne, who created Blockbuster and made
    it a household name, will stay on with us through the transition
    period" (AP/ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/21).
    

    Print | Tags: Media, Viacom
  • MEDIA NOTES

         On Monday, the Cable Television & Communications Association
    of IL filed a complaint with the IL Commerce Commission charging
    Ameritech with illegally entering the field of cable TV.  The
    trade group presented regulators with a July 15 letter from an
    Ameritech official outlining Ameritech's plans to enter the cable
    industry.  The group wants the commission to investigate what
    Ameritech is doing and whether the company is "illegally charging
    ratepayers to build a cable system" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES,
    9/20)....In Baltimore, Milton Kent notes David Letterman's many
    jokes about CBS Sports: "Letterman's jokes help feed a
    perception, warranted or not, that CBS Sports is ailing or,
    worse, worn down by a series of losses of valuable properties,
    announcers and production staff" (Baltimore SUN, 9/21)....
    

    Print | Tags: CBS, Media, Viacom
  • PRIME SPORTS, COMSAT VENTURE TO SPORTS PROGRAMMING

         COMSAT Video Corp. and Prime Sports Network (PSN) "have
    agreed to undertake a joint venture aimed at developing new
    sports and entertainment programming."  The Bethesda, MD-based
    COMSAT Video owns the Nuggets, while PSN is a division of TCI,
    the nation's largest cable company.  COMSAT Video spokesperson
    Paul Jacobson said that "while the agreement is sports directed,
    it is not necessarily limited to sports programming" (Brooks
    Boliek, HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 9/20).
         TCI FISHING FOR A TEAM?  "A sports team may be the lure for
    TCI," while COMSAT has plans in Denver to build a new $110M,
    19,000-seat arena with a $20M TV center to be placed next door.
    COMSAT reportedly is also interested in acquiring an NHL
    franchise.  Analyst Paul Maxwell of Media Business Corp. says the
    COMSAT/TCI venture is a sure sign of TCI's desire to do more
    sports, while COMSAT is bent on building a world class
    entertainment center in Denver  (Dinah Zeiger, DENVER POST,
    9/20).
    

    Print | Tags: Denver Nuggets, NHL, Media
  • SPORTS IS A FULL-TIME BUSINESS FOR THE OREGONIAN

         The Portland OREGONIAN is conducting a nationwide search for
    a sports business reporter.  The "big gorilla" in Oregon is Nike,
    but there are other important players in the local sports
    community -- ranging from Paul Allen's Trailblazers, to hot ad
    agencies such as Wieden & Kennedy, to manufacturers such as
    Adidas, Avia, and Columbia Sportswear.  THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY
    interviewed Judy Rooks, Business Editor of the OREGONIAN, on the
    search and the newspaper's need for a sports business reporter.
         THE DAILY:  Why has the OREGONIAN decided to hire a full-
    time sports business reporter?
         ROOKS:  We figure there are three areas of local business
    news in which we need to shine:  wood products; high-tech
    electronics; and sports business -- primarily because of Nike,
    but also due to the presence of other companies, such as Adidas,
    Avia, Columbia Sportswear, and the Portland Trailblazers.  This
    critical mass creates a focus and energy that you don't typically
    find in other markets. ... Nike is the hub of the wheel, but
    there are more and more spokes coming off that hub all of the
    time.
         THE DAILY:  What exactly will this reporter cover?  What
    issues will he or she focus on?
         ROOKS:  In some ways this will be a traditional business
    beat, because the companies we're going to cover are primarily in
    the manufacturing industry.  But, since Nike and the others are
    renowned for their marketing savvy, there will be a heavy
    marketing component to this beat. ... We will also cover our
    local advertising industry, which is not terribly large, but has
    a national reputation because of Wieden & Kennedy and up-and-
    coming agencies such as Cole & Weber and AKA Advertising.
         THE DAILY:  Who is your audience for sports business news?
    Fans or insiders?
         ROOKS:  We are writing for a business audience.  Last year,
    Nike was the top-revenue producing public company in Oregon and
    what Nike does affects a lot of people's working lives -- either
    employees, suppliers, would-be suppliers or other ripple-effect
    companies. ... We will be covering the industry as a business,
    but that doesn't mean we can't have fun.  These businesses are
    something we have a cultural familiarity with, and that gives our
    audience an immediate entre to the news we will be reporting.
         THE DAILY:  What does your move say about the sports
    industry?
         ROOKS:  In a consumer society with sportswear, sports
    equipment, and sports as entertainment, sports has reached a very
    high level of public consciousness.  Everyone knows what Air
    Jordan's are, whether or not they give a darn about sports. ...
    Sports marketing has been remarkably successful at making these
    products and these companies a part of our everyday parlance, if
    not our lives.  And in the Northwest, we see a synergy developing
    where there are spinoff companies coming up because Nike is here.
    ... There's a growing realization, especially with developments
    like the baseball strike, that sports is a business, just like
    Hollywood.
         THE DAILY:  How will Nike respond to this new coverage?
         ROOKS:  Nike's spokespeople seemed very receptive to the
    idea.  I think it would be a great advantage to them because we
    have covered them in such a hit or miss fashion over the years
    and they've had to deal with a number of different reporters. ...
    This is not to say that everything we write will be terribly
    flattering, but I am hoping that what we write will be more
    professional, sophisticated and thorough than in the past.
         PUBLISHER'S NOTE:  Experienced reporters with an interest in
    sports business issues, and who want to reside in "one of the
    most livable cities in the country," should contact Judy Rooks at
    the OREGONIAN -- 503-221-8200.
    

    Print | Tags: Nike, Media, Washington Nationals, Wieden Kennedy
  • TURNER STILL SHOPPING FOR A NETWORK

         Speaking to a Museum of Television and Radio breakfast
    yesterday, Ted Turner "reiterated his desire" to purchase a Big
    Three network.  In addition, Turner confirmed that he would be
    meeting with Time Warner later this week to try to work out a
    deal in which Time Warner would no longer hold its stake in
    Turner Broadcasting, estimated at 20% (DAILY VARIETY, 9/21).
    Financial and regulatory issues make buying a network difficult
    for both companies if Time Warner retains its sizeable stake in
    Turner Broadcasting (Charles Haddad, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 9/21).
         TBS TO REDEEM DEBT:  Turner Broadcasting announced yesterday
    that it will redeem $540M of its most costly long-term debt.
    Prudential Securities media analyst Sharon Williams viewed the
    redemption as a "routine financial move": "It's part of a general
    effort to keep the cost of borrowing down" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
    9/21).
         THE NETWORK SHUFFLE:  GE has retained investment banker
    Allen & Co. to explore selling all or part of its NBC unit, and
    is in discussions with Time Warner and Disney, among others (WALL
    STREET JOURNAL, 9/21)....In L.A., Alan Citron and John Lippman
    report that CBS Chair Laurence Tisch has made "overtures" to
    former Disney exec Jeffrey Katzenberg about running the network
    on a day-to-day basis as well as expand its entertainment
    holdings (L.A. TIMES, 9/20).
    

    Print | Tags: CBS, NBC, Prudential Securities, Media, TBS/TNT, Time Warner, Viacom, Walt Disney
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