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The CFL announced yesterday that they have signed a new three-year contract with TSN. With the agreement, TSN is ensured of having the largest CFL football schedule on Canadian network TV for the '95 season. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. TSN President & GM Jim Thompson: "We're proud of our nine-year partnership with the CFL, and the high quality coverage we've given Canadian football fans. We're looking forward to our next decade of fast-paced Canadian football" (CFL).
THE HOCKEY NEWS and the Canadian Hockey League announced the launch of RINKNET, an online hockey information service. RINKNET is an electronic bulletin board service which provides hockey leagues, media, agents and fans the opportunity to access hockey info using their computer. Currently, RINKNET has two main forums: THE HOCKEY NEWS online edition and the Canadian Hockey League bulletin board system (Hockey News/CHL). LEAGUES MERGE ONTO INFO-HIGHWAY: In the current issue of AD AGE, Jeff Jensen reports that the NFL, NHL and NBA are all planning to make run at the "Internet or commercial online services to market to a new generation of media-savvy fans." The NFL has already announced its plans for creation of a site on the World Wide Web. The NBA and NHL are both planning to develop Web sites, while the NHL is considering an online service tied to the Microsoft Network. The NBA has been working with IBM on their site (AD AGE, 4/3).... Golf Digest Online, the first hub of the NYT (New York Times) Sports Leisure Interactive network, is currently being beta tested, and the official start of the service is planned for April 17 (INSIDE MEDIA ONLINE, 4/3).
Liberty Sports Sales has acquired the local and national representation rights for PASS Sports, a Detroit-area regional sports network, effective immediately, according to Liberty Sports Sales President Mike Kincaid. Jeff Genther, GM of PASS Sports, which carries the Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons games: "Liberty Sports Sales' commitment to their business, by assembling a proven sports television sales force and supporting them with the best resources, clearly demonstrated to PASS Sports that they are the best qualified to maximize the advertising return on our sports programming investment." Liberty Sports Sales was formed in November 1994 to manage national representation for Liberty Sports' entities -- including the eight Prime RSNs, Sunshine Network, La Cadena Deportiva and Prime Deportiva (Liberty Sports).
TBS and its Chair Ted Turner are profiled in the current issue of U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT. In his piece, Dan McGraw explains why Turner would like to buy CBS. CBS would more than double TBS' annual cash flow, according to Bankers Trust Research, "while providing it with a larger distribution system for its vast portfolio of programming. McGraw also notes that combining CBS and TBS could allow the companies to pool their resources in the "increasingly expensive bidding wars for sports programming. ... The merged entity would be able to compete for the rights to key events against aggressive players" like Rupert Murdoch. McGraw notes how Turner can use his Castle Rock Entertainment and MGM library as programming for CBS. Castle Rock owns shows like "Seinfeld," and is expected to have a $40M windfall next year when syndication rights to the show are sold (U.S. NEWS, 4/10 issue). TISCH DIGGING IN? According to the latest ELECTRONIC MEDIA, CBS Chair Laurence Tisch could postpone the company's sale to bring in Rich Frank, who recently resigned from Walt Disney, to "orchestrate the network's recovery uin a move that would have sweeping industry impact." It has become "clear" in recent weeks that Tisch is "struggling to command a premium $80 per share cash for CBS." If Frank joins CBS, Tisch "could wait several years to realize greater return on a rebuilt network" (ELECTRONIC MEDIA, 4/3). In yesterday's N.Y. NEWSDAY, Verne Gay gives the odds on different companies that might be interested in buying CBS: Companies from TCI to IBM to Coca-Cola are given odds as to their interest in CBS (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 4/3).