SBD/17/Sports Media

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         SITV will feature figure skater Christopher Bowman, a two-
    time Olympian.  SPORTS ILLUSTRATED senior writer E.M. Swift
    chronicles the rise and fall of Bowman who has been struggling to
    "overcome years of substance abuse."  Bowman, who says he is now
    clean and sober, is currently a skating instructor in MA.  The
    program airs on ABC's "Wide World of Sports" this Saturday,
    4:30pm EST (SITV)....ESPN's Dick Vitale said that NCAA basketball
    players should get $150-200 a month:  "The bottom line is these
    kids deserve it.  They're selling merchandise on campuses with
    their jerseys, etc ... When you think of $1.7 billion paid for
    the rights for the tournament and the money that's on the college
    campuses with the merchandise we just talked about, they really
    deserve it" ("SportsCenter," 3/16).

    Print | Tags: ABC, ESPN, NCAA, Sports Illustrated, Media, Walt Disney

         The success Major Market Network (MMN) in starting up a
    basketball unwired network is examined by INSIDE MEDIA's Wayne
    Friedman & Langdon Brockington.  MMN, a division of Cox
    Enterprises, is an unwired network that pools together ad
    slots/spots from TV stations and/or regional cable networks and
    packages them into a national advertising buy.  The company is
    better known for its network for baseball.  According to MMN
    VP/GM Jerry Puccio, the basketball network has "enjoyed modest
    success.  Deals have been made with six advertisers," but Puccio
    declined to identify the sponsors.  For the past few years
    organizations such as Group W sports Marketing and Rainbow Sports
    Sales "have been selling a variety of unwired basketball
    networks, consisting primarily of regional cable networks."  But
    the problem for some advertisers is that those unwired networks
    are "largely dependent on cable time slots, on average they
    garner" only 50% of U.S. TV households.  MMN promises 83-87%
    reach, "thanks to healthy coverage via broadcast stations."  A
    major component of the lineup is WGN-Chicago, which reaches 37%
    of the country.  Every NBA team has signed up with MMN except the
    Blazers and Jazz.  Both of those clubs' broadcast games are
    completely sold out.  MMN promises a 5.5 Nielsen national rating,
    selling each spot for $75,000.  "Media buyers say that if MMN can
    deliver that rating," the cost-per-minute for its ads would be
    comparable to those on NBC's NBA telecasts.  MMN has had a hard
    time selling baseball this year.  So far Puccio has six incumbent
    advertisers that bought packages at the normal rate, which is
    $80,000 a spot for an 11 rating.  Last year, MMN signed up 25
    advertisers, pulling in $12M (COWLES BUSINESS MEDIA, 3/16).

    Print | Tags: NBA, NBC, Media, Utah Jazz

         CBS Sports President David Kenin said the network has told
    the NFL of its "high interest" in a variety of NFL options.
    Those options include going after NBC's AFC package in the next
    negotiation, but as USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke notes, CBS has more
    "viable options."  It could go after a new Thursday night package
    of 17 games, the Sunday night TNT/ESPN cable package or, "less
    likely," ABC's Monday Night package.  Kenin: "That's legitimate.
    We have asked the NFL what it wants to do in its Monday and
    Sunday night packages."  As for baseball, Kenin said CBS has made
    sure that MLB knows of their interest (USA TODAY, 3/17).
         COLLEGE HOOPS ON TV:  According to Raycom, the Raycom/ABC
    package of regional college basketball games won the annual
    regular-season ratings sweepstakes over CBS' college basketball:
    2.5 to 2.4.  Raycom notes that next year, the number of telecasts
    on ABC will increase from 11 to 17.  The Raycom agreement with
    ABC, which began in '91-92, was recently extended through 1999
    (Raycom).  In New York, Richard Sandomir notes there is "relief"
    at CBS that the regular college basketball season is over.  The
    2.4 rating was the worst ever for the network.  The decline was
    caused "largely by the increasing proliferation of college
    basketball."  Len DeLuca, CBS Sports VP/Programming, said the
    network will experiment with more quick "look-ins" at the
    progress of other games, among them games produced by Raycom and
    Jefferson-Pilot as well as producing three regional games.  And
    as Sandomir notes, CBS must hope "that Indiana and Michigan
    recapture their allure in the Big 10 conference" (N.Y. TIMES,
    3/17).  Reviews of CBS' production of the first day of the NCAA
    Tournament were positive in the N.Y. TIMES, PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
    and USA TODAY (3/17).
         HOW BOUT THE REST OF THE EYE?  Former QVC Chair Barry Diller
    told CNBC that he has not teamed up with Disney to buy CBS from
    Laurence Tisch.  Diller said the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER story that
    had Diller in a partnership with Disney was "completely untrue"
    (BLOOMBERG/N.Y. POST, 3/17).

    Print | Tags: ABC, CBS, ESPN, MLB, NBC, NCAA, NFL, Media, Turner Sports, Viacom, Walt Disney
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