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The marketplace for sports on TV is "one of the strongest in years -- with many a property commanding double-digit price increases," according to Langdon Brockington & Mike Reynolds in the latest issue of INSIDE MEDIA. Some reasons? 1) It's a non- Olympic year; 2) Sports spending is up in many categories, especially autos, computers and telecomm; 3) More and more advertisers are starting to view network TV as "an integral element" of their marketing plans; 4) The NFL season shrunk from 18 weeks to 17 (INSIDE MEDIA, 11/30-12/13 issue).
Former NFL kicker Raul Allegre has formed Laguna Entertainment & Marketing -- with one of the first projects to develop a TV show with information on Hispanic athletes serving their communities. Allegre, on "Super Show Deportivo": "I want Hispanic youth to see someone and say, 'Hey, this Hispanic guy made it, so can I." The NFL provides support to the show through NFL Films (NFL)....An Orlando sports bar, Gator's Dockside, has filed a class-action suit against ESPN claiming breach of contract in connection to a fee for a series of 12 satellite college football games. Having discovered that other bars were receiving the games for free, Gator's is seeking a refund for itself and all establishments that paid for the service. That could be anywhere from $3M to $200M, according to Guy Haggard, an attorney for Gator's (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 12/3). ....Denny Garver and Eddy Clinton, the two TX broadcasters made famous by their calls of the Tyler-Plano East high school game, will appear on the "Tonight Show" with Jay Leno on December 21 (MIAMI HERALD, 12/4).
DC's WTEM-AM Sports Radio ("The Team") announced it will not renew its contract with the Redskins for '95. WTEM GM Bennett Zier cited costs as the main issue. Industry sources said WTEM paid between $3.2 and 3.5 million for rights to the Redskins, not counting production or talent costs. Despite other talent changes, Zier said the station will maintain its all-sports format. Other stations interested in the Redskins are WJFK-FM and WMAL-AM, which had held the rights to the Redskins since the early '40s before the Redskins signed with WTEM. WJFK is owned by Infinity Broadcasting, whose stations already own the rights to five NFL teams, including the Cowboys and a new deal with the Patriots (Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 12/3).
News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch is profiled in the latest issue of BUSINESS WEEK. He's "fast becoming global sports fanatic No. 1 as he scours the planet for games to fill the hours on the worldwide TV mega-network he has spent the last decade building." Alistair Smellie, an analyst of European media for Lehman Brothers, calls sports "the most important ingredient to increase penetration into homes." And John Mansell, a media analyst for Paul Kagan Associates, notes: "Others have used sports to boost ratings and ad revenues. But he's a pioneer in recognizing the importance of global rights" (BUSINESS WEEK, 12/12 issue). NOT IMPRESSED: During the post-match press conference at the Advata Tennis Tour Championship at Key Biscayne, John McEnroe blasted Murdoch, whose Fox TV network is bidding for the rights to Wimbledon. McEnroe: "The person who owns Fox is single- handedly responsible for a lot of what I find despicable. These type of people don't have anything to do with tennis. I'm sure he doesn't even know he's getting tennis -- if he gets it. It's all about some kind of power play. ... He's a low-life" (MIAMI HERALD, 12/4).