SBD/7/Sports Media

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  • MEDIA NOTES

         ESPN announced that Howard Cosell will receive the 3rd
    annual Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.  Bill Cosby will accept the
    award on Cosell's behalf at the ESPY Awards on Monday February 13
    (ESPN)....The Redskins are expected to announce their choice to
    carry the team's games on radio this week.  Speculation among
    local station managers is that Infinity-owned WJFK-FM is "leading
    the pack" with an offer of close to $4M annually (WASHINGTON
    POST, 2/7)....ABC Radio Network has virtually completed its
    relocation to Dallas from New York.  The largest radio broadcast
    operation in the U.S. will be operating out of a new 73,000 foot
    HQs (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/7)...WBAL-radio in Baltimore may
    reduce the number of Orioles exhibition games it carries this
    spring if replacement players are used.  Under WBAL's plan, the
    announcers would "intersperse conversation with each other and
    fans with accounts of the game" (Milton Kent, Baltimore SUN,
    2/7)....ABC's telecast of the Pro Bowl "scored" in the overnight
    ratings with an 11.7, almost "triple the audience the game
    received on ESPN last year."....Sunday's Knicks/ Suns NBA game on
    NBC drew a 6.6; CBS' College Basketball received a 2.3.  CBS VP
    Len DeLuca: "We're never going to beat the NBA because the NBA
    controls its own environment.  They have no opposing Sunday NBA
    games" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 2/7)....The Tribune Company
    reported a 28% increase in net income to $242M, even after the
    company estimated baseball-related losses at about $30M.  The
    company, wehich owns the Cubs, cited improved results from its TV
    stations and new media/education group (ELECTRONIC MEDIA,
    2/6)....TCI has agreed to a buy cable TV operation covering six
    Bay Area communities, adding 70,000 subscribers to the 625,000 it
    already has there (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 2/7).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, Baltimore Orioles, Cablevision, CBS, Chicago Cubs, ESPN, NBA, NBC, New York Knicks, Phoenix Suns, Media, Viacom, Walt Disney, Washington Redskins
  • MURDOCH ADMITS TO NEWS CORP. CONTROL OVER FOX

         While testifying before FCC investigators in late January,
    Rupert Murdoch "bluntly conceded" that his Australia-based News
    Corp. "controlled all the equity of the American TV stations that
    were the basis for the Fox television network," according to this
    morning's N.Y. TIMES.  Sworn testimony released yesterday shows
    that Murdoch said that he had not violated regulations that limit
    foreign ownership of American stations because he is a
    naturalized American citizen.  Murdoch: "Frankly, there was no
    secret. ... News Corporation was on the hook for 100%."  If the
    FCC finds that News Corp. and Fox are in violation of foreign-
    ownership laws, Murdoch could be forced to "sell his stations or
    restructure the company" (Edmund Andrews, N.Y. TIMES, 2/7).  The
    WASHINGTON POST reports that government investigators have
    "zeroed in" on a series of internal documents in which Fox
    officials "discussed changing" the ownership structure "as far
    back as 1989" (Paul Farhi, WASHINGTON POST, 2/7).  Fox officials
    turned down a corporate restructuring plan in '90 for "fear of
    triggering an investigation" (Daniel Pearl, WALL STREET JOURNAL,
    2/7).
         PROFITS, PROFITS: Despite a $350M loss "reflecting expected
    losses" on Fox's four-year NFL contract, News Corp.'s fiscal 2nd
    Quarter earnings rose 11%.  The company said the loss was the
    difference between what Fox will get in advertising revenue and
    the cost of licensing, producing and marketing the NFL games over
    the "life of the contract."  The charge was "less than half what
    many people in the industry expected."  News Corp. CFO David
    Devoe said the percentage of U.S. households reached by Fox
    increased to 98% -- from 93% -- as a result of the football
    broadcasts (Eben Shapiro, WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/7).
    

    Print | Tags: News Corp./Fox, NFL, Media
  • NEW HBO SPORTS SHOW MARKS BRYANT GUMBEL'S RETURN TO SPORTS

         NBC "Today" host Bryant Gumbel was expected to be named
    today as the host of HBO Sports's new quarterly sports-magazine
    show.  Gumbel's new one-year contract with "Today" does not
    preclude other work, such as the HBO show.  HBO reportedly tried
    to get NBC's Bob Costas, but his work on "Dateline" prevented any
    deal (N.Y  TIMES, 2/7).
    

    Print | Tags: HBO, NBC, Media, Time Warner
  • OTHER NETWORK NEWS: DILLER'S BACK; ROSY SCENARIO AT ABC

         While QVC Chair Barry Diller failed in his first attempt at
    taking over CBS, that hasn't "stopped rampant rumors on Wall
    Street and Broadcast Row" that Diller is planning a second run at
    CBS, according to this morning's VARIETY.  Speculation about a
    Diller move comes as the QVC takeover by TCI and Comcast becomes
    final this week -- triggering Diller's resignation as chair --
    "and against a backdrop of turmoil at CBS."  One industry source
    says Diller has put together the estimated $5B in financing he
    would need, but there is "no sign where it comes from" (DAILY
    VARIETY, 2/7 issue).
         A LOOK AT CBS' NUMBERS:  CBS' profit picture, expected to be
    announced tomorrow, "is likely to paint a grim picture of falling
    earnings," according to N.Y. POST's John Durie.  Durie says the
    diminished earnings are due to the loss of the NFL and key
    affiliates to Fox, also citing CBS President Laurence Tisch's
    "strategic failure to develop the CBS franchise into an
    entertainment powerhouse like Capital Cities/ABC and newer
    television rivals such as Viacom and Time Warner" (N.Y. POST,
    2/7).
         CAP CITIES/ABC:  Cap Cities/ABC reported that net income
    rose 44% to $240.6M in the 4th Quarter due to strong advertising
    results from its broadcasting and cable networks.  "Earnings were
    up significantly at ESPN," according to the company.  John Reidy,
    media analyst for Smith Barney, said ABC might have "been lucky"
    that the baseball strike occurred, as it left the network free to
    "broadcast its usual fall lineup instead of the World Series,
    which would have brought strong ratings but perhaps less profit"
    (Geraldine Fabrikant, N.Y. TIMES, 2/7).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, Comcast-Spectacor, ESPN, News Corp./Fox, NFL, Media, Time Warner, Viacom, Walt Disney
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