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CBS TV "effectively waved the green flag to restart the Daytona 500 after a rain delay, ... threatening to pull the plug and switch to basketball if the cars weren't running" by 3:45pm EST, according to Frank Murray of the WASHINGTON TIMES. Trucks equipped with jet-engine blowers had been drying the track for a restart before the CBS ultimatum (WASHINGTON TIMES, 2/20). In Baltimore, Milton Kent writes on CBS' FlyCam, a small camera mounted on a radio-controlled helicopter. Kent said it "made an interesting enough debut that it may actually command more time in a number of CBS racing telecasts" (Baltimore SUN, 2/20). In New York, Richard Sandomir praised CBS for its coverage during the rain delay but said the FlyCam "made me a little dizzy" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/21). Michael Hiestand on the FlyCam: "Credit CBS with a willingness to experiment on its Daytona 500 coverage" (USA TODAY, 2/20). In Tampa, columnist Tom Ford notes the success of Sunday's Daytona 500: "Although Sterling Marlin's second consecutive 500 victory did not rank among the Daytona classics, 200,000 people at the track and millions more watching CBS's television coverage gained insight into a sport that is expanding far beyond the Mason-Dixon line" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 2/20).
While the Expos this week announced a 52-game TV package on two free French-language stations, team President Claude Brochu says the team "struck out again in its bid to get some games" on English-language TV. Brochu: "I don't know what we have to do attract some attention. Last year we had the best team in Canada, the best team in baseball, but we couldn't put a TV deal together." The Blue Jays have effectively tied up Canada's two major networks. The CBC carries Blue Jays games nationally on Friday nights while a group of CTV stations owned by or affiliated with Toronto-based Baton Broadcasting offers extensive regional coverage of Jays games. The Expos have received interest from independent English stations, but the major stumbling block for the team is that CFCF, the CTV affiliate in Montreal, has shown none (Pat Hickey, Montreal GAZETTE, 2/18).
Liberty Sports and the Pac 10 have reached an agreement providing Liberty with network and national cable TV rights to Pac 10 men's basketball games beginning in '95-96 and running through the '98-99 season. The agreement includes up to 16 network appearances and 32-36 annual cable games. These rights are in addition to Liberty Sports' agreement reached last June with the Pac 10 giving Liberty Sports cable TV rights to 18 annual football games (Liberty).
NBC announced Friday that it has withdrawn a request for a government ruling on the legality of Fox Broadcasting's ownership. The decision to drop the request came after News Corp. agreed to carry NBC programming on its Asian satellite broadcasting system. "Dropping the request allowed NBC to resume a 'normal business relationship' with Fox" (Paul Farhi, WASHINGTON POST, 2/18). The FCC will proceed with a decision on the complaints brought by NBC, but several execs close to the dispute said News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch was "gambling that removal of NBC [from the complaint] ... would make it easier" for the FCC to find a way to resolve the foreign ownership issues "on a basis favorable to Fox" (Bill Carter, N.Y. TIMES, 2/18).