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Although the network is "showing plenty of games," the new leaders at Turner Sports "insist they are suffering from an identity crisis," according to Richard Sandomir in today's N.Y. TIMES. Sandomir continues, "By inference, then, Turner has not marketed its combined entities well enough while its on-air stars ... have failed to project a company gestalt." Turner Sports President Harvey Schiller: "I'd like for the viewer, as they surf through the channels, to know they've watched a Turner property for its quality and production. It's not just talent. It's marketing, it's the look, it's the sound and the graphic look." Turner's new Sr VP/Production, Mike Pearl, who previously was CBS' Winter Olympics Coordinating Producer, "wants to improve" the technical and production capabilities and "shore up the talent pool" of the company (N.Y. TIMES, 2/3).
Yesterday's report that the NFL is considering discussions about possibly changing its playoff system drew "objections from the two networks that carried most of the NFL's regular season games." NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol: "I don't think they have to do anything. It also comes down to television economics. Fox paid a premium for that conference with those teams in it. I don't think it would be fair to change." Vince Wladika, Fox Sports Dir of Media Relations said Fox "has an agreement with the NFL to broadcast the NFC. That is what we paid for in the NFL package. It is a league matter, but this is what we have and we'd like it to stay that way." Ebersol said one type of change from the league he would like to see is "more meaningful rivalries," like Carolina-Jacksonville and the Jets-Giants playing every year (Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 2/3). More Ebersol: "What I'd like to change about the Super Bowl is to eliminate the week off. The vast majority of coaches feel that extra week heightens the advantage of the superior team" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 2/3).
Liberty Satellite Sports announced an agreement with the NHL which will grant Liberty national distribution rights for 200-300 regular season games (Liberty Satellite Sports).... Dimension Cable Services in Phoenix has reached a milestone that only four other cable systems in the country have reached by signing up its 400,000th customer (Dimension Cable).