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Big Eight Commissioner Carl James has announced that Creative Sports will serve as syndicator of the league's men basketball package for the next five years, commencing with the 1994-95 season. The agreement provides for the telecast of games on weekend syndication, a prime time series, and negotiation rights for network over-the-air appearances. While a minimum guarantee exists, profit sharing and combined income from over- the-air network syndication, prime time syndication and ESPN will result in an approximate annual income to the Conference of $2M (Big 8 Conference).
While CBS will carry the Mobil Cotton Bowl beginning in '96, "the actual rights agreement" is between Liberty Sports and the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association. Liberty secured CBS to broadcast the game. Ad time for the Cotton Bowl will be sold via Libery Sports Ad Sales (GOULD MEDIA'S TV SPORTS FILE, 10/28 issue). "Liberty feels the acquisition is a major coup and the first of many marquee sports rights deals it will make in the upcoming months," according to Liberty Sports Senior VP of Programming Dave Almstead. Liberty will pay CBS a "ballpark" average of $800,000 each year for the network airtime. CBS VP of Programming Len DeLuca said that the Cotton Bowl is Liberty's latest move in its quest to compete with ESPN to acquire rights to high-profile sports properties: "Liberty continues to establish itself as a very formidable competitor to ESPN" (Thomas Umstead, MULTICHANNEL NEWS, 10/31 issue).
ITT announced that it is no longer actively pursuing a merger with NBC and doubts GE wants to reach a deal anytime soon (COWLES BUSINESS MEDIA, 10/29)....Analysts are projecting the networks will accumulate nearly $12B in advertising sales for the upcoming year (WASHINGTON POST, 10/31)....Michael Ovitz and three regional Bell telephone companies announce plans today for a video entertainment venture to compete with the nation's cable-TV systems. The three phone companies -- Bell Atlantic, Nynex and Pacific Telesis -- want to make movies, games, interactive programs and regular TV shows available to 46M homes and businesses through phone lines (N.Y. POST, 10/31)....Pitt football public-address announcer Don Ireland resigned over jokes he made during the WV-Pitt game October 15. During the game, Ireland announced there was a tractor in the parking lot with its lights on bearing the WV license plate "E-I-E-I-O" (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 10/28)....ESPN's Gary Miller, citing baseball and hockey work stoppages: "Next week's Paris Open has moved up the finals to a week from Monday so that ESPN can televise them in prime time -- the first Monday final in tennis since 1990" ("SportsCenter," 10/29).