SBD/10/Sports Industrialists

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  • NAMES IN THE NEWS

         A column in the L.A. DAILY NEWS says that fired Rams coach
    CHUCK KNOX was not to blame for the "debacle" of the team and
    called Rams Owner GEORGIA FRONTIERE a "disgrace and an
    embarrassment as an NFL owner" (Michael Ventre, L.A. DAILY NEWS,
    1/10)....DAN JANSEN and BONNIE BLAIR have been awarded USOC's
    Sportsman and Sportswoman of 1994 (USOC).
    

    Print | Tags: NFL, People and Pop Culture, St. Louis Rams, USOC
  • THE GOLF CHANNEL: STEVENSON PREVIEWS NEXT TUESDAY'S LAUNCH

         Gary Stevenson is the Exec VP & Chief Operating Officer of
    The Golf Channel, the first channel devoted to one sport.
    Founded by cable entrepreneur Joseph Gibbs and golfing legend
    Arnold Palmer, the channel launches January 17.  Stevenson spoke
    with THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY on the channel's plans -- both
    immediate and long-term.  The Golf Channel will announce its
    "charter advertisers" today, which Stevenson said will be
    "household names," four or five sponsors familiar to golf
    viewers.
         THE DAILY:  What makes you think the Golf Channel will be a
    success?
         STEVENSON:  Well, two things.  One is we are not creating a
    need out there in the consumer marketplace, we are fulfilling a
    need.  Our research shows that consumers want more information on
    golf and they want to watch more on golf instruction.  They are
    interested in what is going on in the world of golf, and
    currently if you watch the sport of football on television, you
    pretty much, between ESPN and SportsCenter and their pre-game
    shows and their post-game shows and all the games that are on,
    you get about as much as you need on football.  But on golf, you
    get the tournaments and that is about it.  So we think that there
    is a consumer need out there, and our research has verified that.
    Two, the timing in the television industry.  It's an evolutionary
    thing, and television is evolving so that consumers eventually
    are going to be able to pick what they want on television, and
    this is the beginning of that curve.
         THE DAILY:  On that point, The Golf Channel is the first
    channel devoted to one sport.  Do you see yourself as a pioneer
    in that aspect?
         STEVENSON: I think other sports will watch closely what we
    do, but I am not so sure if other sports will be successful at it
    only because golf is a combination of wanting to watch a sport,
    but it is also a participatory sport.  So, there is kind of a
    different passion for golf than there is for football.
         THE DAILY:  How many homes will have access to the Golf
    Channel at the outset?
         STEVENSON:  At launch, we will be available to several
    million homes, and we will have a preview the first six days.  It
    will be free to the subscribers.
         THE DAILY:  Are there any plans for access on direct
    broadcast satellite?
         STEVENSON:  Yes, we will launch on DirectTV, and we will be
    available on the big satellite dish market as well.
         THE DAILY:  Are you planning for interactive shopping or
    informercial programming on the network?
         STEVENSON:  Intentionally we will not do a lot of
    infomercials.  We will do some.  Like, perhaps during Ryder Cup
    week, we will do Ryder Cup merchandise.  We do have plans in 1995
    for a home shopping segment, but the actual content of the show
    is still being developed.
         THE DAILY:  What domestic tournaments will you carry?  Will
    they be pro events, amateur events?
         STEVENSON:  It will be a combination.  We have six PGA tour
    events.  In 1995, we will air 15 LPGA events, eight Nike Tour
    events, we will have a couple of club pro events, we may have a
    junior amateur event and we will have a couple of amateur events
    -- USGA amateur events.
         THE DAILY:  Is it an aim down the road to compete with the
    networks for weekend coverage of the PGA Tour and the majors?
         STEVENSON:  Well, that is a function of economics.  We don't
    really see ourselves competing with the networks at this point.
    They are getting squeezed some on the programming side, so there
    may be some instances where we have the ability to program some
    events that the PGA Tour wants to run that they can't program, or
    it just doesn't make sense for them to program.  But we see
    ourselves and the networks as complimenting each other.
         THE DAILY:  Are there any plans to develop your own
    specialty events?
         STEVENSON:  Yes, we have talked about a number of ideas.  To
    give you specifics would be a little premature, but there are
    some pretty creative events.  With Arnold Palmer as your chairman
    we are not short on ideas.
         THE DAILY:  What are your feelings about the World Tour.
    Would you consider carrying some early rounds of Fox World Tour
    events?
         STEVENSON:  Our feeling on the World Tour, or any Tour is
    that we believe the structure of the game is pretty solid, the
    way it is currently structured, and to have strong tours around
    the world that are creating good competition is good for the game
    of golf.  So anything that is done from a World Tour standpoint
    that we would support would have to be done in conjunction with
    the existing tours, only because it is crazy to tear down a
    system that is probably the only sport that works well right now.
    Golf is structured properly.  And because of the way it is
    structured, golf has really blossomed worldwide.  On any given
    week, you have eight great professional tournaments going on
    around the world.  That is great competing opportunities, it is
    great for fans, it is great for television.  The concept of
    getting the best players to play together is great, but you are
    not too far from that with the PGA Tour anyway.  Nick Faldo
    joined this year, Mark McNulty joined, so on any given week on
    the PGA Tour you probably have 25 out of the top 30 in the world
    right now.
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, LPGA, News Corp./Fox, Nike, PGA Tour, People and Pop Culture, USGA, Walt Disney
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