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UMass Coach John Calipari will be the focus of a four-minute piece on ABC's "World News Tonight" expected to air early during the NCAA basketball tournament. ABC's Armen Keteyian: "The theme of the piece has to do with escalating salaries of major college coaches and whether they are worth what their universities are paying them and the kind of commitment the colleges have made to these coaches. It's a nationwide look, with UMass a huge part of the piece." Reportedly, Calipari makes more than $600,000/year. That includes a base of $132,000; almost 95% of an estimated $300,000 from a summer basketball camp; the school's revenue from one road trip of his choice; $50,000 from season ticket revenue; 35% of NCAA tournament money; and $50,000 per year for a pension fund. Calipari also has outside deals with Nike, Spalding and Champion. Other coaches expected to be mentioned: IU's Bobby Knight, UNC's Dean Smith and Duke's Mike Krzyzewski (Jim Greenidge, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/8).
ESPN and Creative Sports Marketing have struck a 6-year, $13M deal for basketball rights to the new 12-team "National Conference" that includes Louisville and DePaul (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 3/9)....ESPN's America's Cup sponsor list now includes 3M, Apple, Amoral, Beck's Beer, Brut, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Canon, Citizens Watch, Coleman, Doubletree Hotels, DuPont, Eureka, First Union Bank, Georgia-Pacific, Intel, Liberty Mutual, Miller Beer, Poulan, Polaris, Sears, Sherwin Williams and U.S. Air. Cadillac, Chevrolet and Citizens Watch are the biggest sponsors of ESPN's coverage (GOULD MEDIA, 3/8)....This week's "NBA Inside Stuff" will feature an update on Bill Murray's attempt to make the NBA (Inside Stuff).
Beginning this month, regional sports networks that are owned or affiliated with Liberty Sports will all use the same name, Prime Sports. All the stations will also have a unified logo, with purple, white and gray being the predominant colors. Each affiliate will have the option of using a regional designation under the logo, for instance "Northwest" or "Southwest." The change to this unified look is being made so that advertisers and consumers across the country can identify the brand Prime Sports (Prime).
Despite MSG Network's "plea for financial relief if replacement Yankees play into the regular season," the team insists that it will not rebate a cent of the cable network's estimated $42M payment for the Yankees' TV rights. Richard Sandomir notes that by taking the same position with WABC-radio, which pays the team $5M annually, the Yankees will have a $47M fund for the season when gate, concession, parking and national TV revenues decline "precipitously while replacement players are used." Yankee General Counsel David Sussman, on MSG: "There's a clear agreement between the parties that we have no obligation to give refunds. There's a risk in every agreement." MSG's acting head Marty Brooks, noting the team cut its ticket prices 50%: "We were very encouraged when they reduced ticket prices, that they acknowledged the reduced value. This is a time bomb that can be defused any day, but it could set the tone for our future relationship. We intend to resolve this equitably." MSG and the Yankees are entering the seventh year of a 12-year $486M contract, by far the largest in baseball. Sandomir notes with ITT's pending takeover of MSG (ITT owns Cablevision Systems, parent of SportsChannel), the Yankees may have to negotiate their next local TV contract with one entity that controls both regional cable systems. The Mets and SportsChannel held talks on rights fees last month, "but tabled them" until a later date (N.Y. TIMES, 3/9).