SBD/23/Sports Media

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  • HBO INTRODUCES ITS NEWEST LEGEND-TURNED-ANALYST

         Time Warner Sports CEO Seth Abraham and HBO Sports Senior VP
    & Exec Producer Ross Greenburg were joined by announcer Jim
    Lampley in introducing Martina Navratilova as the newest member
    of the network's Wimbledon broadcast team.  Under the one-year
    deal, Navratilova will participate as a part-time analyst for
    both men's and women's matches, while also participating as a
    doubles player.  Abraham cited Navratilova's "passion" for and
    "intimate knowledge" of the tournament as the key reason for
    seeking her out.  Greenburg said he believes viewers will find
    Navratilova to be as "candid, blunt, provocative and
    entertaining" as Billie Jean King, whom Navratilova will join as
    an expert analyst.  Navratilova said the deal with HBO is not
    exclusive and would allow her to sign on with another network.
    She left open the possibility of working for CBS during the U.S.
    Open, but added, "I want to see how this goes" (THE DAILY).  CBS
    Sports Senior VP Rick Gentile:  "Yes, we've had some discussion.
    There's interest, but we haven't identified any role for her"
    (Steve Zipay, N.Y. NEWSDAY, 5/23).
         REACTION:  In New York, Richard Sandomir compares it to
    NBC's signing of Joe Montana.  "HBO made the better hire.
    Navratilova has everything Montana needs to start a TV career
    fast:  a reputation for great bluntness and candor" (N.Y. TIMES,
    5/23).  Steve Zipay writes, "When it comes to new faces in sports
    broadcasting, Martina Navratilova promises she won't be like any
    ordinary Joe. Or even like an extraordinary Joe -- Joe Montana"
    (NEWSDAY, 5/23).  USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke:  "In this TV age when
    fresh, candid analysts are rare, HBO might have scored an ace
    Monday" (USA TODAY, 5/23).  In Baltimore, Milton Kent writes that
    HBO "is expecting Navratilova to be as blunt and outspoken in the
    booth as she was after matches" (Baltimore SUN, 5/23).
         OTHER BON MOTS FOR HBO:  In Boston, Ron Borges writes that
    Abraham "deserves credit" for signing Oscar De La Hoya to a six-
    year deal before his win a few months ago over John John Molina.
    "That leaves HBO well established with one of the sport's
    fastest-rising stars" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/23).
    

    Print | Tags: CBS, HBO, NBC, Media, Time Warner, Viacom
  • MEDIA NOTES

         MD-based Home Team Sports will launch a World Wide Web site
    this summer,  The service, which will provide programming
    updates, player and event info and merchandise opportunities, is
    being developed with NDC Group of Arlington, VA (GOULD MEDIA
    SERVICES)....NBC's Bob Costas will host a two-hour special in
    celebration of The Discovery Channel's 10th anniversary
    (BROADCASTING & CABLE, 5/22).... During a panel discussion at the
    Women's Sports Foundation's Summit '95 in Dallas on Sunday, ABC
    programmer Lynn Stephans said she faced resistance from the ABC
    sales staff in trying to find advertisers for "A Passion to
    Play."  Stephans:  "Then I put two and two together.  The ABC
    Sports staff was used to looking for advertisers interested in
    attracting the lucrative 18- to 49-year-old male.  So I went to
    our daytime and entertainment sales staff" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS,
    5/22). ....America Online paid $46M for stock in two software
    companies and announced alliances with CD-ROM makers in a bid to
    bolster its Internet presence (WASHINGTON POST, 5/23).  America
    Online CEO Steve Case appeared on CNBC's to offer his view on the
    failed Intuit/ Microsoft merger and his hope that Microsoft stays
    out of the online services market.  Case: "You get a broad range
    of service from America Online for a fixed fee. ... The Microsoft
    approach is more like a pay per view approach.  All we are saying
    is give the consumers the choice" ("Business Insiders," 5/22).
    ....Ted Turner told the Video Software Dealers Association's
    annual convention:  "I know I worry all the time.  I never think
    I'm big enough.  This year we're going to do $3.4 billion, but I
    just feel like I've got to have one of those over-the-air
    networks" (AP/ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 5/23).... Rangers "insiders"
    say former GM Tom Grieve likes his role on Prime telecasts so
    much that "he might bypass any future front office opportunity"
    (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/21).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, Microsoft, NBC, Media, Walt Disney
  • PLAYOFF RATINGS WATCH: NBA'S TOP MARKETS SIT AND WATCH

         With the Knicks, Bulls, Lakers and Suns out of the playoffs,
    John Helyar writes in the WALL STREET JOURNAL that the loss of
    the nation's top three media markets and another with a top star
    -- Charles Barkley -- "may augur poorly for continued playoff
    viewership."  The NBA's Final Four, ranked by media market:
    Rockets (No. 11), Magic (No. 22), Pacers (No. 24), and Spurs (No.
    39).  While Jerry Dominus, Senior Partner at J. Walter Thompson
    USA, says those teams are "not exactly David Stern's dream team,"
    NBC Sports spokesperson Ed Markey counters, "The idea that
    ratings are driven by the size of market is a fallacy.  It's
    really storyline-driven, personality-driven, quality-of-play
    driven."  Helyar notes that the NBA "faces stiffer competition
    from the NHL playoffs from here on out."  Fox will run the
    Blackhawks-Canucks on Sunday, hoping to grab viewers from the No.
    3 Chicago market (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/23).  In New York, Steve
    Zipay writes that NBC is not worried.  "The worst-case Finals
    would be Rockets-Pacers and 80 percent of the ads are already
    sold for next season" (N.Y. NEWSDAY, 5/23).
         RATINGS CHECK:  The Knicks-Pacers Game 7 earned an 11.4/28
    in overnights, with a 17.2/37 in New York and a 31.6/58 in
    Indianapolis.  The Rangers-Flyers managed a 4.4/10 in New York
    during the same period (N.Y. POST, 5/23).  Nationally, the NHL
    got a 2.7 in overnights, up 17% from ABC's coverage last year
    (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 5/23).
         ANYTHING FOR FOX:  The NHL's remaining Western Conference
    teams are "steaming over" the fact that they will have to play
    back-to-back games in each city this weekend, so that both games
    can be shown on Fox.  In order to show Sunday's Blackhawks-
    Canucks game at 2pm CDT on Sunday, the teams have to fly out
    immediately after Saturday's game in Vancouver (Mike Beamish,
    VANCOUVER SUN, 5/23).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, Cablevision, Chicago Blackhawks, Chicago Bulls, Comcast-Spectacor, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, NBA, NBC, New York Knicks, News Corp./Fox, NHL, Canucks Sports and Entertainment, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Suns, RDV Sports, San Antonio Spurs, Media, Vancouver Canucks, Walt Disney
  • PORTLAND BLAZES AN ONLINE TRAIL, NBA PULLS IN REINS

         The Blazers, the first NBA team to develop their own World
    Wide Web site, "may soon be tapped to create an Internet site for
    the [NBA] to promote all of its teams," according to the current
    AD AGE.  The team is already advising the league on its online
    strategy, and a formal assignment "could cement the Trail
    Blazers' position as one of the most active developer of new-
    media applications in pro sports."  The team's four-person
    multimedia staff has also developed "Game Ops Commander"
    software, which automates the video and sound effect
    entertainment during games, and is planning interactive kiosks at
    the team's new arena.  The team's plans were so advanced, the NBA
    forced them to dismantle their Web site in March citing NBA
    marketing rules.  Blazers VP/Marketing & Communications Larry
    Hitchcock:  "We were just a little ahead of the game" (Charles
    Waltner, ADVERTISING AGE, 5/22 issue).  The Blazers are owned by
    Starwave Corp.'s Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.
    

    Print | Tags: Microsoft, NBA, Media
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