SBD/27/Sports Media

FRANCHISE MEDIA REPORT: SHARKS BITTEN; THE FAN'S ALLEGIANCE

     The Sharks are not on TV as much as their fans would like
since the team "bears the financial burden of airing their own
games," according to Colin Seymour of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS.
The team pays for air time and sells their own ads, "which don't
always move fast at the rate of $1,000 per 30-second spot."  The
Sharks are not selling enough ads to offset the expenses of
producing telecasts and paying arena and announcing costs, and
fees to TV stations.  The team has worked with KICU to air as
many games as possible.  In addition to the production cost, "the
real problem is scarce viewership."  Sharks ratings on KICU have
doubled this season to a 2.0 rating share, but still trail
Warriors telecasts (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/26).
     HORNETS EXTEND RADIO DEAL:  The Hornets and WBT-AM have
agreed on a contract extension that will keep the team on the
flagship station for at least five more years.  WBT also has
local broadcast rights to the Panthers, giving the
Jefferson/Pilot-owned station radio rights to Carolina's two
major league franchises.  The new contract provides for an
additional Hornets talk show on WBT, and promotional ties during
the station's other programming.  The Hornets produce their own
programming, sell advertising and keep the revenue.  WBT pays no
"up-front rights fees -- its financial commitment in the deal is
in the form of providing the air time and the commercial slots
included in it for the Hornets to sell" (David Poole, CHARLOTTE
OBSERVER, 2/25).
     YANKS ON THE FAN?  WFAN's deal with the Mets expires at the
end of the season, and Bob Raissman of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS
reports WFAN might not renew.  Instead The FAN might make a run
at the Yankees when the Yanks deal with WABC runs out in two
years.  WABC has reportedly lost "big bucks" on its Yankee
contract and Raissman writes that Yankee Owner George
Steinbrenner may like the "thought of having FAN at his disposal
-- a place to do his spin-doctoring on a moment's notice" (N.Y.
DAILY NEWS, 2/26).
     TORONTO:  Canadian broadcast sources indicate that TSN is
interested in acquiring local TV rights to the Maple Leafs to add
to its 80-plus Blue Jays schedule.  The Leafs' 15-year deal with
Molson's Molstar Communications expires after this season and the
club is looking for "huge gains both in revenue and the number of
games broadcast."  Maple Leafs President & GM Cliff Fletcher has
indicated that he is seeking C$15M per season and wants to double
the number of games currently shown.  The team, through
negotiator IMG, is still talking to Molson (Rob Longley, TORONTO
SUN, 2/27).
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