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Beginning in '96, ABC will pay $45M for four years of the world and European figure skating championships, "plus three world speed-skating events." Richard Sandomir reports that is "slightly more than twice NBC's current five-year, $27.5M deal, which expires this year." ABC Sports President Dennis Swanson said the network will air six hours of the World Championship in prime time, adding: "This isn't a made-for, it's the worlds. If you want to identify with the sport, this is the kind of event you want. I'd hope we'd break even" (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES, 1/20).
On Wednesday, the FTC said it was seeking to "bar the acquisition" of QVC, Inc. by TCI and Comcast Corp., "contending" that the $1.42B deal would give TCI too much "market power in the home shopping industry." Yesterday, TCI said it was preparing to give the government "10 days notice that it intends to consummate its acquisition of QVC by late February." TCI also plans to meet with FTC officials next week to personally argue their case. A industry source told the L.A. TIMES that TCI will fight the FTC in court if the agency strikes the deal. Comcast would apparently back TCI in any litigation. Comcast Chair Barry Diller: "The government has every right to investigate the matter, but this is torture" (Shiver & Harris, L.A. TIMES, 1/20). The N.Y. POST reports this morning that the takeover will still occur, and analysts say that "even if TCI was knocked out, Comcast would proceed on its own or with a new equity partner" (John Durie, N.Y. POST, 1/20).
ESPN's Mike Milbury will make his studio analyst debut tonight when the network cover the Rangers/Sabres game in New York. Milbury on the season: "The quality of the games is going to be so intense that it should prove a boon to viewers" (HARTFORD COURANT, 1/20)....ESPN's Chris LaPlace: "Fox deserves credit for its NFL coverage and they may do well on the NHL, but they haven't done a hockey game yet. We set the standard. We do hockey better than anyone" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 1/20). The NBA will present its fifth annual NBA All-Star Stay in School Celebration during All-Star Weekend. The one hour special will be broadcast simultaneously by NBC, TNT, Nickelodeon, and BET at 12:00 EST on February 11. The event is sponsored by Coca-Cola, IBM, and SkyBox Int'l (NBA)....BUSINESS WEEK profiles Ted Turner and his desire to become a "heavy hitter" in Hollywood (BUSINESS WEEK, 1/23 issue).
"At a recent meeting of broadcast and cable outlets, how to deal with ShamBall was a hot topic," according to Richard Samdomir in today's N.Y. TIMES. TV Consultant Bryan Burns: "I think stations will tell clubs, 'We'll work with you, but we won't carry the full schedule.'" In New York, WPIX/Channel 11 usually sells time to MSG to air 50 games. What is the "obligation" this year? WPIX GM Michael Eigner: "It's something we're talking about internally." What will SportsChannel New York do with its commitment to 75 games? SportsChannel GM Jim Bates: "It's premature. But if they put clowns like me out there, we'd have some problem" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/20). ABC Sports President Dennis Swanson on reports that NBC would get the '95 World Series: "We won a coin flip for the first World Series and it hasn't been played yet" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 1/20).