SBD/20/Sports Media

ESPN "SHOCKED" WITH SIMMS' DECISION TO GO TO NBC

     Phil Simms' announcement yesterday that he will become an
analyst for NBC Sports "jolted" ESPN, according to today's N.Y.
TIMES.  ESPN spokesperson Chris LaPlaca:  "We're shocked and
disappointed in Phil.  We believed we had a two-year deal.  David
Fishof [Simms' agent] said signing  it was a technicality and
that Phil would work for us or play for Cleveland."  Fishof
claims the contract had not been signed "because of unresolved
issues, including tying his client up for several years."  NBC
Sports President Dick Ebersol on Simms' work with ESPN:  "He was
clear and concise and learned the rhythms and cadences of TV very
quickly."  The new deal with NBC is for three years "for a sum
probably around $400,000 a year" and will include work at the '96
Summer Olympics (Richard Sandomir, N.Y. TIMES 3/20).  According
to LaPlaca, ESPN is now "weighing its options" as to what it will
now do "in the wake of Simms' departure" (Phil Mushnick, N.Y.
POST, 3/20).  Simms made an appearance with NBC's Hannah Storm
after the Bulls-Pacers game.  He will work on both football and
non-football events for NBC, including the '96 Olympics.  The
network announced the deal during the Chicago-Indiana game (NBC,
3/19).
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