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ESPN TAKES A SALES BREAK; SPECULATION RUNS RAMPANT
Published February 17, 1995
ESPN stopped selling inventory for a few days two weeks ago, a move "indicative of the most robust sports marketplace in recent years." Jack Bonanni, Senior VP/Ad Sales at ESPN, said the "flow of business was more than we could handle." Bonanni noted the return of the NHL had a "major impact" on the network's schedule, and that "complicated matters." One ad exec said ESPN "doesn't have a state-of-the-art system to manage their inventory" and that led to a hiatus to account for sale inventory. Other media buyers speculated the network was "reassessing" their pricing. But Bonanni insists the interruption was strictly due to a "re-inventorying" process that has been done in the past. ESPN's sales "underscores the strength of the sports TV marketplace these days -- from the seller's perspective." Ad time on all sports on broadcasts and cable outlets is "moving briskly," if not sold out, and spending on sports TV is up "significantly for numerous categories," including automotive, computer, and telecommunications (Brockington & Reynolds, COWLES BUSINESS/INSIDE MEDIA, 2/16).