SBD/15/Sports Media

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  • FIGURE SKATING -- THE READY-FOR-PRIME-TIME PLAYER

         "Hot on the toe loops" of CBS' "Ice Wars" competition is
    NBC's "Gold Championship," a two-hour, live individual event this
    Saturday night from Edmonton.  The event offers $1M in prize
    money.  NBC has "not cranked up the publicity machine" but the
    prime-time slot, prize money and top competitors indicate that
    figure skating is "sought-after entertainment that can survive
    and thrive."  Nancy Kerrigan is the only "Ice Wars" competitor
    who will not appear on the NBC show in some capacity.  Paul Wylie
    and Kurt Browning will serve as analysts, and CBS analyst Scott
    Hamilton will trade the booth for blades.  In New York, Richard
    Sandomir notes that NBC's re-run of last December's DuraSoft
    Colors World Professional Championships on Saturday received a
    4.2 and CBS' Oksana Baiul TV movie got a 4.8.  CBS will "keep the
    Zamboni rolling" with six events starting on Thanksgiving (N.Y.
    TIMES, 11/15).
    

    Print | Tags: CBS, NBC, Media, Viacom
  • FOX SAYS IT EXPECTS NBC/HBO TO HOLD WIMBLEDON RIGHTS

         "It may be posturing," but Fox has said that HBO and NBC
    will retain Wimbledon rights.  The rights will probably be
    awarded Friday, and Fox TV Chair says "it's difficult" to bid
    against the incumbent network because the bid has to exceed by
    20% to win (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 11/15).
    

    Print | Tags: HBO, NBC, News Corp./Fox, Media, Time Warner
  • MEDIA NOTES

         Liberty Sports, parent company of Home Sports Entertainment
    (HSE), will hold a news conference to announce several changes
    within its regional sports networks today in New York.  The
    changes will affect HSE's identity and programming (HSE)....NCAA
    basketball begins on Canada's The Sports Network in December with
    five men's games (TSN).... ACOG President and CEO Billy Payne
    says the committee is at 83% of its $910M goal for worldwide TV
    rights:  "We're confident we'll reach it" (Rudy Martzke, USA
    TODAY, 11/15). ....BSkyB will price an Initial Public Offering
    (IPO) at around $3.73 per share.  The IPO will cut News Corp.'s
    stake in the satellite-TV network from 50% to 40% (WALL STREET
    JOURNAL, 11/15)....Time Warner and US West have purchased stakes
    in Japan's Chofu Cable TV unit.  Time Warner purchased 15.4%,
    Time Warner Entertainment Japan 9.9% and US West 17.9% (WALL
    STREET JOURNAL, 11/15)....Fox received its highest game rating of
    the season with a 19.0 for the 49ers-Cowboys, significant because
    neither Los Angeles nor New York aired the game (N.Y. TIMES,
    11/15)....Baltimore CFL fans might not be able to watch their
    team in the Eastern division final this weekend.  Exclusive U.S.
    CFL-carrier ESPN2 will air the Western championship to "try to
    build an audience" for the November 27 Grey Cup and showcase
    "proven CFL ratings grabber" Doug Flutie.  Local telecast rights
    are not likely to be bought because stations would have to pass
    up more "lucrative" NFL games (Baltimore SUN, 11/15).
    

    Print | Tags: BSkyB, Cablevision, CFL, Dallas Cowboys, ESPN, NCAA, New York Liberty, News Corp./Fox, NFL, San Francisco 49ers, Media, Time Warner, US West/Qwest, Walt Disney
  • TCI CONSIDERS SEPARATING A DIVISION TO IMPROVE STOCK VALUE

         Cable giant TCI "is considering taking one of its operating
    divisions public when its board meets Wednesday," according to
    this morning's USA TODAY.  TCI is reported to be considering a
    spinoff of one of its three divisions that does not include TCI's
    domestic cable franchises.  The possibilities include domestic
    programming, such as TCI stakes in Turner Broadcasting, Home
    Shopping Network, and The Sega Channel.  International operations
    and technology ventures are also possible spinoffs.  TCI hopes
    such a move would "force Wall Street investors to acknowledge the
    company's stock is undervalued."  TCI stock closed yesterday at
    23 1/8, up 3/8 (David Lieberman, USA TODAY, 11/15).
    

    Print | Tags: Media
  • VIACOM EARNINGS SHOW COMPANY ACQUISITIONS ARE "ON TRACK"

         Viacom Inc.'s earnings reflect a "seven-fold rise" in
    earnings per share for the third quarter.  The results include
    contributions for the first time from recently acquired Paramount
    Communications, but do not yet include earnings from the merger
    with Blockbuster Entertainment or the sale of Madison Square
    Garden.  Viacom President Frank Biondi said Blockbuster earnings
    seem "tremendously promising."  Blockbuster sales were up 42% by
    September.  Viacom's net earnings increased to $327.3M from
    $30.9M, while sales were up $2.1B.  Cable profits fell 33% from
    last year (Tony Jackson, FINANCIAL TIMES, 11/15).  "The results
    were driven by the strong performance" of MTV and Paramount movie
    hits.  However, analysts are getting "impatient" for Viacom to
    complete the sale of its cable TV systems to InterMedia Partners
    and Madison Square Garden to the ITT/ Cablevision partnership.
    Viacom shares closed at $39.75, up $.87 1/2 (Eben Shapiro, WALL
    STREET JOURNAL, 11/15).
          VIACOM TECHNOLOGY:  Simon & Schuster, Viacom's publishing
    division, plans to announce an all-electronic publishing imprint
    named Macmillan Digital USA.  The new imprint will produce and
    distribute reference, travel and computer books in electronic
    format, including CD-ROMs, materials for on-line services and the
    Internet.  Topics will include sports ( WALL STREET JOURNAL,
    11/15).
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Madison Square Garden, Media, Viacom
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