SBD/16/Sports Media

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  • FOX CONSIDERS GOLF SERIES, BUT PGA TOUR AGAINST PROPOSAL

         In a development "certain to send shock waves" through men's
    golf, Fox Broadcasting said that it plans to co-sponsor a new
    golf tour in 1995.  PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem responded
    quickly, saying he would attempt to bar PGA pros from joining.
    According to leaked reports, Fox would co-sponsor the tour with
    Executive Sports, an event management firm in Delray Beach, FL,
    and would televise about eight tournaments.  There would be 30 to
    40 players competing for total prize money in excess of $25M.
    The '94 PGA Tour encompassed 50 events with prize money of $82M.
    Fox Sports spokesperson Vince Wladika told AP that Executive
    Sports approached Fox with the golf proposal.  Greg Norman, "who
    has sought a world tour for golf's top players for a long time,"
    has met with Executive Sports officials about the idea.  Norman,
    who will host his Franklin Funds Shark Shootout beginning this
    Friday, reportedly will call a players meeting today about the
    new tour.  Yesterday, Finchem released a statement about the new
    Fox tour, "even though there has been no official announcement
    about the tour's creation" (Thomas Bonk, L.A. TIMES, 11/16).
         FINCHEM REAX:  In his statement, Finchem said the PGA Tour
    supports more int'l competition, but only if such projects meet
    certain rules:  "They must benefit golf, have the support of all
    golf organizations and be structured to help existing tours."
    Finchem went on to state that the proposed Fox/Executive Sports
    Tour, "fails to meet any of these three criteria."  More from
    Finchem's statement:  "This proposal would have a negative impact
    on existing events.  It would result in fewer playing
    opportunities for the great majority of our members and an
    inevitable reduction in the $24.7 million raised for charity in
    the communities where our tournaments were played this year" (PGA
    Tour).  Finchem also warned that if the events are staged, the
    PGA Tour will fulfill its long-term agreements with TV nets,
    title sponsors and tournaments by "enforcing our television
    release and conflicting event regulations."  The PGA Tour does
    not allow its members to play in events that occur simultaneously
    at the same time as Tour events (Thomas Bonk, L.A. TIMES, 11/16).
         PLAYER REAX:  Golfer Peter Jacobsen "said there isn't much
    excitement for the tour because it could wreck the current
    structure of the PGA Tour": "It could make more money for the
    players.  But we need to learn from other sports.  Greed has
    ruined baseball and hockey, and its well on its way to ruining
    basketball" (USA TODAY, 11/16).
    

    Print | Tags: News Corp./Fox, PGA Tour, Media
  • LIBERTY SPORTS TAKES ANOTHER NATIONAL NETWORK STEP

         Liberty Sports, the sports programming arm of TCI's Liberty
    Media, is changing the names of its owned and operated regional
    sports network to Prime Sports.  The name change is part of
    Liberty Sports' bid to unify its regional networks.  Liberty owns
    and operates nine regionals:  Home Sports Entertainment (TX), KBL
    (Pittsburgh), Prime Sports Network-Intermountain West, Prime
    Sports Network-Midwest, Prime Sports Network-Rocky Mountain,
    Prime Sports Network-Upper Midwest, Prime Sports Northwest, Prime
    Ticket and Sunshine Network (FL).  Liberty also owns interest in
    other regional sports networks:  Home Team Sports (Mid-Atlantic),
    SportsChannel Pacific, SportsChannel Philadelphia, SportsChannel
    Chicago and SportSouth.  Liberty Sports President Ed Frazier:
    "We feel a move toward more consistent programming throughout the
    regions will provide today's mobile society the ability to find
    their favorite show at the same time every day, no matter the
    time zone" (Liberty Sports).
         WHAT IT MEANS:  In an interview yesterday with THE SPORTS
    BUSINESS DAILY, Home Sports Entertainment GM John Heitke talked
    about the changes:  "We're trying to become more viewer friendly,
    and one of steps in doing that is to develop some continuity
    across the nation with a common branding identity and I think
    Prime Sports allows us to take a real good first step in that
    direction."  Asked if the change is a sign that Liberty Sports
    wants to compete with ESPN on a national level:  "I don't think
    it's a direct competition to what ESPN does.  They are a national
    network and do the things that they do very well.  We have built
    our strengths over the years on being able to bring in the
    regional and home town team audiences.  What this signifies is
    the first step in trying to create a more simplistic approach to
    our networks, not only to our viewers across the country but to
    advertisers as well" (THE DAILY).
         NATIONAL AD SALES:  Liberty also has decided to create its
    own national sales service in-house, replacing Group W Sports
    Marketing which had previously sold the national spot time for
    the regional networks.  National ad sales offices will be located
    in New York, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Miami, Dallas, Los
    Angeles and San Francisco (Liberty).  Heitke explained the
    benefits of this change: "If I'm a media buyer in New York City,
    ... and I'm buying baseball, I'm getting the Marlins in Florida,
    the Rangers in Texas, the Angels in California, the Pirates in
    Pittsburgh."  Previously, a media buyer would have to deal with
    each regional network separately (THE DAILY).
         PROGRAMMING:  Programming will be restructured to create
    uniformity throughout the regionals, while maintaining their
    regional identities.  Prime Sports programs will be aired so as
    to be seen during the same time slots across the four continental
    U.S. time zones.  Liberty plans more emphasis on women's and
    children's sports programming.  Another significant change will
    be the national roll-out of a sports news show, "Press Box."  The
    show will include national sports news, with a portion of each
    telecast dedicated to highlighting regional sports and teams.
    Production of "Press Box" will occur eight times a day, so that
    the show will be seen live at 6:30pm and 10:30pm in each time
    zone (Liberty).
    

    Print | Tags: LA Angels, Anaheim Sports, Cablevision, ESPN, Miami Marlins, New York Liberty, Pittsburgh Pirates, Media, Walt Disney
  • TRIBUNE TO HELP INCREASE IN MINORITY OWNED TV STATIONS

         Tribune Co. and two black entertainment-industry
    businessmen, Quincy Jones and former NFL great Willie Davis, "are
    expected today to announce a partnership to acquire" U.S. TV
    stations.  Tribune is expected to invest several hundred million
    dollars in stations around the country, while being the minority
    shareholder in the venture.  The group is expected to take
    advantage of federal regulations, "which grant tax advantages to
    minority-controlled partnerships that buy stations" (WALL STREET
    JOURNAL, 11/16).  The creation of the Jones-Tribune group "is the
    latest in a string of repercussions from Fox Television's
    unexpected move earlier this year to snatch away eight station
    affiliates from rival CBS."  Other partners in the venture are
    said to include Geraldo Rivera and "Soul Train" producer Don
    Cornelius.  One of the first stations the group is said to be
    purchasing is WATL in Atlanta, currently a Fox O&O.  WATL would
    likely become an affiliate of Time Warner's planned WB Network
    (Lippman & Hall, L.A. TIMES, 11/16).
    

    Print | Tags: CBS, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Media, Time Warner, Viacom
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