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Since they were televised on separate nights with no sports competition, both the Orange and Sugar Bowls were up in the ratings this year. NBC's telecast of the Orange Bowl moved up 6% from last year, from a 17.8 to 18.9, the bowl's best number since '88. ABC's Sugar Bowl jumped a huge 187% from a 5.2 rating last year. NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol, on CBS paying $13M apiece for the Orange and Fiesta Bowls starting next year: "The last five years, we paid $10 million combined for the Orange and Fiesta and made money only once. CBS is paying $16 million more and looking at a minimum of $10 million in losses each year" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 1/5)....A U.S. District Court Judge ruled that Fox doesn't have to pay licensing fees to the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers for music used on its programs from '86-'95 (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/5).... CBS Americas, the Spanish-Language radio network, will broadcast two World Championship boxing matches this Saturday. The network reaches over 90% of the Spanish speaking population in the U.S. (CBS Americas).
The NFL and Fox and NBC, the networks in charge of the January 15 conference championship games, are discussing the possibility of moving either the NFC or AFC Championship games to a prime-time slot if two West Coast teams are playing host to both Sunday games. By moving a game to prime-time the NFL would avoid a 10:00pm PST start, as originally scheduled. NFL VP of Broadcasting Val Pinchbeck: "We're confident we'll work out a Sunday prime-time game." The "attractiveness" of a possible Cowboys-49ers matchup in the NFC Championship makes it a likely candidate to be moved if both teams should win this weekend (Mike Fisher, FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/5).