SBD/20/Sports Media

BROADCAST NEWS: FOX SERVES UP A BID FOR WIMBLEDON

     Fox Sports "made its third volley for a major sports
property Wednesday with a sizable bid for Wimbledon of about $120
million for four years."  In a bid entered by News Corp.
executive David Evans at a meeting in London with the All-England
Tennis Club and IMG Chair Mark McCormack, Fox offered about $30M
a year for what it termed "world rights."  Rudy Martzke notes
"that's substantially more than the combined" $21M incumbent NBC
and cable partner HBO were paying for Wimbledon rights that have
expired.  Annual losses for NBC and HBO are estimated between $6-
7M.  Fox's bid includes:  The Fox Network and its FX cable, BSkyB
satellite TV in Europe and Star TV satellite TV in Asia.  NBC
Sports President Dick Ebersol: "If the reports of their offer are
true, then Mr. Murdoch has one very large piggy bank."  Both NBC
& HBO, which have been told that they can retain their rights if
their offers are within 10% of other high bids, "figure to remain
in the running when they meet with McCormack" tomorrow.  A final
decision is not expected until mid-November (Rudy Martzke, USA
TODAY, 10/20).
     AFFILIATE WATCH:  "NBC lost no time yesterday in attacking a
revised application filed by SF Broadcasting to purchase" a Green
Bay TV station (WLUK), "contending that the new papers were
incomplete and still represented an effort by the Fox network to
mask the true extent of its control over ownership of the
station."  Fox is already facing a challenge at the FCC over
whether its parent company, News Corp. of Australia, "really owns
the Fox stations, in violation of FCC regulations" on foreign
ownership (Bill Carter, N.Y. TIMES, 10/20).
     CBS ON ICE:  In Dallas, Barry Horn comments on CBS' "Ice
Wars" figure skating competition: "Would the sequel 'Ice Wars II
-- The Never-Ending Search for Ratings' include a masked skater
challenging [Nancy] Kerrigan in a winner-take-all match" (DALLAS
MORNING NEWS, 10/19).
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