SBD/27/Sports Industrialists

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         SHAQUILLE O'NEAL will make his video-game debut in "Shaq
    Fu," a new fighting action game from Electronic Arts.  "Shaq Fu"
    will be available on October 28th.  Electronic Arts has a multi-
    year license with O'Neal and plans to release many other games
    featuring the Shaq (Electronic Arts)....CHARLES BARKLEY is
    interviewed in the latest issue of GQ, in which he takes on the
    younger stars in the NBA for their violent nature (10/94
    issue)....NFL Commissioner PAUL TAGLIABUE, NFLPA Exec Dir GENE
    UPSHAW, former union heads JOHN MACKEY and JACK KEMP, and NFL
    Management Council Chair HAROLD HENDERSON discussed the league's
    labor relations, past and present, as part of a Smithsonian
    lecture series (WASHINGTON POST, 10/27)....KAYLA FRECH was
    promoted to Director of Community Relations for the Detriot
    Tigers.  She was loge manager for Tigers Owner Mike Ilitch's Fox
    Theatre (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 10/26).

    Print | Tags: Detroit Tigers, NBA, NFL, People and Pop Culture

         Since August 1994, Jon Miller has served as Senior VP of
    Programming at NBC Sports.  In his present position and his
    previous capacity as NBC Sports VP of Program Planning and
    Development, he has been responsible for the development of all
    NBC Sports properties, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, Notre Dame
    football, the PGA Tour and AVP.  He spoke yesterday with THE
    SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY on the state of network sports coverage in
    general, and NBC in particular.
         THE DAILY:  What does the baseball strike mean for NBC?
         MILLER:  Obviously, it's very disappointing because we were
    very excited about The Baseball Network and our relationship.
    These guys had done a remarkable job in the face of some pretty
    daunting conditions, and they put together an organization in a
    very short amount of time.  Then they went out and did what
    nobody thought they could --they restored value to the game.
         THE DAILY:  Will The Baseball Network be able to survive
    when baseball comes back?
         MILLER:  I don't know.  It is not up to us, obviously.  We
    certainly think they are better equipped than anybody out there
    to do a good job for baseball.  When you strip away the rhetoric
    and the posturing, the fact of the matter is nobody is better
    able to market and sell your product than you are.  Witness how
    well the NBA has done things.
         THE DAILY:  Is there pressure on the other networks to
    follow Fox up the ladder on rights fees?
         MILLER:  We are in the sports business because we think it
    is a good business to be in, in the sense that it does well for
    our affiliates, it makes money, it helps promote other
    programming. ... Different sports obviously have different
    strategic goals, but for the most part I would say [the execs at
    Fox] obviously have a business plan and some objectives and they
    know what they're doing.
         THE DAILY:  Do you think the Olympics are a good buy at the
    ever-increasing prices?
         MILLER:  The Olympics are the single biggest event in not
    only sport, but in entertainment -- as evidenced by the
    continuing popularity from countries that want to host it,
    advertisers that want to be associated with it, and networks that
    want to televise it.  An advertiser who really understands his
    marketplace and understands what he is trying to do, will
    recognize that the Olympics is the best environment for him to be
    in.  Nothing else in sports shows you the emotion and the ability
    to strive and to achieve.  The Olympics aren't just about
    winning, they are about participating, about the long road
    getting there.  For most companies, that tends to be a big part
    of their message.
         THE DAILY:  What's the next AVP?  Are there any other hot,
    new sports properties?
         MILLER:  We were very fortunate with the AVP.  It came at a
    time when we needed the programming when we lost baseball in
    1989.  The AVP guys were very cooperative and eager to work with
    us.  We had good sponsorship support.  It is probably -- in
    addition to the NBA -- the single most integrated sports property
    you can have. ... As far as what the next AVP is, I don't know.
    I don't think that when we got the AVP we knew that the AVP was
    the next AVP.
         THE DAILY:  With viewers hungry for sports, is there any
    chance we will see any NBA games before Christmas?
         MILLER:  The NBA knows their product better than anybody
    else.  They know what works and they know the timing of it.
    These guys are the best there is. ... I don't think that we're
    looking to move up anytime soon, I think that we're going to have
    a very exciting first and second quarter of NBA programming.
    That's what we're sticking with.
         THE DAILY:  The AFC is topping the NFC in the ratings for
    the first time in 15 years.  Is that attributable to the NFC's
    shift to Fox?
         MILLER:  No, I don't think it is attributable to that.
    There are a lot of reasons.  We have done a good job promoting.
    I think that people really like our pre-game element, they see
    "NFL Live" as a very strong, information-filled pre-game show.
    ... There are also a lot of real strong football stories in the
    AFC right now, and a lot of very, very exciting players and
    quality of football that is being played. ... [But] I'm not going
    to kid you, the fact that they are the only game in town right
    now doesn't hurt.
         THE DAILY:  What would a change in ownership at NBC -- a Ted
    Turner or Disney -- mean for sports programming?
         MILLER:  That's really tough for me to comment on.  These
    guys are all very smart businessmen and they have had great
    success wherever they have been.  And I would think that whoever
    would come in would say that if this makes sense and if this is
    doing well, then we continue.  And if it's not, why not?  It's
    not just sports. It would be the same for stations, business,
    news, entertainment, video, cable, international, ancillary
    marketing, promotion, you name it.  That's the way successful
    business strategists like that look at programming.

    Print | Tags: MLB, NBA, NBC, NFL, PGA Tour, People and Pop Culture, Walt Disney
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