SBD/6/Sports Media

SPORTS NETWORKS TRY TO SURVIVE WITH ABSENCE OF GAMES

     Regional sports networks, already struggling due to the loss
of a significant amount of baseball games and ad revenues, are
bracing themselves for more programming losses if the hockey
postponement is prolonged.  Many regional broadcast and cable
execs, having exhausted a significant amount of inventory to
cover canceled baseball telecasts, said they have not considered
what replacement programming they will use if regular season
games are lost.  In a best-case scenario, the NHL has proposed
playing a full schedule beginning October 15 and lasting into
July.  But MSG Network President Douglas Moss said even that
"could complicate network programming and advertising efforts by
putting NHL games in direct competition with the Knicks and
Yankees" (Thomas Umstead, MULTICHANNEL NEWS, 10/3 issue).  John
Claiborne, GM of New England Sports Network which carries the
Bruins and the Red Sox, said that the work stoppages have had a
"negative impact" on programming: "There's no question we've lost
subscribers -- more than a reasonable amount" (Jim Baker, BOSTON
HERALD, 10/5).
     ESPN GOES TO SCHOOL:  Bruce McLeod, commissioner of the
Western Collegiate Hockey Association, said he has been contacted
by ESPN about the possibility of broadcasting some  WCHA games to
fill spots intended for the NHL (John Gilbert, ST. PAUL PIONEER
PRESS, 10/5).
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